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Communications of the ACM

Practice

Mind Your State for Your State of Mind


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Applications have had an interesting evolution as they have moved into the distributed and scalable world. Similarly, storage and its cousin databases have changed side by side with applications. Many times, the semantics, performance, and failure models of storage and applications do a subtle dance as they change in support of changing business requirements and environmental challenges. Adding scale to the mix has really stirred things up. This article looks at some of these issues and their impact on systems.

Before database transactions, there were complexities in updating data, especially if failures happened. This held true even though the systems were centralized and avoided the complexities presented by distribution. Database transactions dramatically simplified the life of application developers. It was great while it lasted ...


 

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