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Replication is commonly used to address the scalability and availability requirements of collaborative web applications in domains such as computer supported cooperative work, social networking, e-commerce and e-banking. While providing substantial benefits, replication also introduces the overhead of maintaining data consistent among the replicated servers. In this work we study the performance of common replication approaches with various consistency guarantees and argue for the feasibility of strong consistency. We propose an efficient, distributed, strong consistency protocol and reveal experimentally that its overhead is not prohibitive. We have implemented a replication middleware that offers different consistency protocols, including our strong consistency protocol. We use the TPC-W transactional web commerce benchmark to provide a comprehensive performance comparison of the different replication approaches under a variety of workload mixes.
Date of Conference: 15-18 Oct. 2011