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02.27.2015 - Relevance of POSIX in the Big Data Era?

View VMware related news. Let’s start with a thought exercise: imagine your application issues a write() call followed by a read(). What would you expect to get back in the read operation? Here are your options: Always get back the latest update Get back either the latest update or the previous value, but never partial updates Always get back the latest update if the read is issued from within the same session Once the latest value is returned by the read, the subsequent reads will never return the old stale value i.e., monotonic guarantee Bounded staleness i.e., reads issued after a given interval will always see the latest updates And so on… All the options listed above are valid — the correct answer depends on the internal implementation of the storage system- namely, how it implements write buffering, atomicity granularity, data durability, read-write protocol for accessing replicas, ordering of updates, etc. The motivation of this exercise was to illustrate the need for a “semantic contract” between the application developer and the underlying storage system. The contract defines what the application programmer should expect as an outcome of the operation, without necessarily getting exposed to the complex nuts-and-bolts of the storage system. POSIX can be considered [...]]>...

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