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Continuous Partial Quorums for Consistency-Latency Tuning in Distributed NoSQL Storage Systems

  • McKenzie, Marlon
  • Fan, Hua
  • Golab, Wojciech
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2015
Submission Date
Jul 11, 2015
arXiv ID: 1507.03162
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NoSQL storage systems are used extensively by web applications and provide an attractive alternative to conventional databases when the need for scalability outweighs the need for transactions. Several of these systems provide quorum-based replication and present the application developer with a choice of multiple client-side "consistency levels" that determine the number of replicas accessed by reads and writes, which in turn affects both latency and the consistency observed by the client application. Since using a fixed combination of read and write consistency levels for a given application provides only a limited number of discrete options, we investigate techniques that allow more fine-grained tuning of the consistency-latency trade-off, as may be required to support consistency-based service level agreements (SLAs). We propose a novel technique called \emph{continuous partial quorums} (CPQ) that assigns the consistency level on a per-operation basis by choosing randomly between two options, such as eventual and strong consistency, with a tunable probability. We evaluate our technique experimentally using Apache Cassandra and demonstrate that it outperforms an alternative tuning technique that delays operations artificially.

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