Sinfonia: A New Paradigm for Building Scalable Distributed Systems

We propose a new paradigm for building scalable distributed systems. Our approach does not require dealing with message-passing protocols—a major complication in existing distributed systems. Instead, developers just design and manipulate data structures within our service called Sinfonia. Sinfonia keeps data for applications on a set of memory nodes, each exporting a linear address space. At the core of Sinfonia is a novel minitransaction primitive that enables efficient and consistent access to data, while hiding the complexities that arise from concurrency and failures. Using Sinfonia, we implemented two very different and complex applications in a few months: a cluster file system and a group communication service. Our implementations perform well and scale to hundreds of machines.

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