Software

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

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Executive Summary

Online software upgrades are often plagued by runtime behaviors that are poorly understood and difficult to ascertain. For example, the interactions among multiple versions of the software expose the system to race conditions that can introduce latent errors or data corruption. Moreover, industry trends suggest that online upgrades are currently needed in large-scale enterprise systems, which often span multiple administrative domains (e.g., Web 2.0 applications that rely on AJAX client-side code or systems that lease cloud computing resources). In such systems, the enterprise does not control all the tiers of the system and cannot coordinate the upgrade process, making existing techniques inadequate to prevent mixed-version races.

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