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Composable Reliability for Asynchronous Systems

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Executive Summary

Distributed systems designs often employ replication to solve two different kinds of availability problems. First, to prevent the loss of data through the permanent destruction or disconnection of a distributed node, and second, to allow prompt retrieval of data when some distributed nodes respond slowly. For simplicity, many systems further handle crash-restart failures and timeouts by treating them as a permanent disconnection followed by the birth of a new node, relying on peer replication rather than persistent storage to preserve data. The authors posit that for applications deployed in modern managed infrastructures, delays are typically transient and failed processes and machines are likely to be restarted promptly, so it is often desirable to resume crashed processes from persistent checkpoints.

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