Possibility of a CAS API

Reid Draper reiddraper at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 20:53:50 EST 2012

On Feb 25, 2012, at 8:46 PM, Armon Dadgar wrote:

> On Feb 25, 2012, at 5:38 PM, Reid Draper wrote:
>> On Feb 25, 2012, at 8:29 PM, Armon Dadgar wrote:
>>> On Feb 25, 2012, at 5:24 PM, Reid Draper wrote:
>>>>>>> I'm not convinced that a CAS operation is inevitably subject to data races.
>>>>>>> There are proven techniques for avoiding races at the cost of latency,
>>>>>>> which is acceptable in certain situations.
>>>>>> Correct, but as far as I know, there is no way to build a CAS system
>>>>>> on top of the primitives provided by the Riak public API. You need
>>>>>> a point of serialization amongst all of the replicas (for a particular key),
>>>>>> which Riak does not provide, for availability reasons.
>>>>> I think a point of serialization is not needed here. It should be sufficient
>>>>> to add a new internal API for nodes to handle a two-phase commit, and
>>>>> then the transaction coordinator (running on whatever node you make
>>>>> the request to) can contain the logic to carry out the transaction.
>>>> If I understand you correctly, the "transaction coordinator" would
>>>> be a point of serialization.
>>> Not a global point of serialization, other transactions would be unaffected.
>>> It is my understanding that there is a new transaction coordinator for
>>> each client request. So it is already always "serial" in a sense.
>> What I'm suggesting you need is a point of serialization for
>> at least a quorum of the replicas for a particular key. It doesn't
>> have to be global across the key-space.
> Yes, that sounds correct. I think we are saying the same thing.
> It certainly wouldn't be as performant as doing a non-CAS operation,
> but for situations where you are willing to make that trade off, it would be nice to have support.
Agreed. We've talked about support for strong consistency, and I personally
think CAS would be a natural thing to do afterward.
>> It might be possible to do CAS with replicas without a synchronization
>> point, but I imagine such a discovery would be publication-worthy.
> Haha, indeed that would be.

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