Yang Zhang, Russell Power, Siyuan Zhou, Yair Sovran, Marcos K. Aguilera and Jinyang Li

Transaction chains: achieving serializability with low latency in geo-distributed storage systems


Currently, users of geo-distributed storage systems face a hard choice between having serializable transactions with high latency, or limited or no transactions with low latency. We show that it is possible to obtain both serializable transactions and low latency, under two conditions. First, transactions are known ahead of time, permitting an a priori static analysis of conflicts. Second, transactions are structured as transaction chains consisting of a sequence of hops, each hop modifying data at one server. To demonstrate this idea, we built Lynx, a geo-distributed storage system that offers transaction chains, secondary indexes, materialized join views, and geo-replication. Lynx uses static analysis to determine if each hop can execute separately while preserving serializability.if so, a client needs wait only for the first hop to complete, which occurs quickly. To evaluate Lynx, we built three applications: an auction service, a Twitter-like microblogging site and a social networking site. These applications successfully use chains to achieve low latency operation and good throughput.