Dexter's Blog

Checking, but not enforcing, Transaction Semantics

28 Jun 2019

Checking against transaction semantics is much easier than enforcing transaction semantics.

One way to check is to track versions for every value, for every replica. A derivation of version vectors can be used.

We’ll assume key-value API of get and put over single keys. The get will return, in addition to the value, its version. A put will contain, in addition to the updated value, the name and versions of all of its dependent keys. For example, the operation y = x + y where x and y are backed by the key-value store would look like the following:

x, version_x = get('x')
y, version_y = get('y')
put('y', x + y, {'x': version_x, 'y': version_y})

The server can then check the versions of the keys to see if stale values were used.

What does this buy us? This can be used to implement reflective consistency.

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