A Review of Experiences with Reliable Multicast
By understanding how real users have employed reliable multicast in real distributed systems, we can develop insight concerning the degree to which this technology has matched expectations. This paper reviews a number of applications with that goal in mind. Our findings point to tradeoffs between the form of reliability used by a system and its scalability and performance. We also find that to reach a broad user community (and a commercially interesting market) the technology must be better integrated with component and object-oriented systems architectures. Looking closely at these architectures, however, we identify some assumptions about failure handling which make reliable multicast difficult to exploit. Indeed, the major failures of reliable multicast are associated with attempts to position it within object oriented systems in ways that focus on transparent recovery from server failures. The broader opportunity appears to involve relatively visible embeddings of these tools into object-oriented architectures enabling knowledgeable users to make tradeoffs. Fault-tolerance through transparent server replication may be better viewed as an unachievable holy grail.
computer science; technical report
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