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From Dave Revell <>
Subject Re: How does Cassandra handle failure during synchronous writes
Date Wed, 23 Feb 2011 20:43:49 GMT

You have seen the problem. Clients may read the newly written value even
though the client performing the write saw it as a failure. When the client
reads, it will use the correct number of replicas for the chosen CL, then
return the newest value seen at any replica. This "newest value" could be
the result of a failed write.

Read repair will probably occur at that point (depending on your config),
which would cause the newest value to propagate to more replicas.

R+W>N guarantees serial order of operations: any read at CL=R that occurs
after a write at CL=W will observe the write. I don't think this property is
relevant to your current question, though.

Cassandra has no mechanism to "roll back" the partial write, other than to
simply write again. This may also fail.


On Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM, <> wrote:

> Hi Dave,
> Thanks for your input. In the steps you mention, what happens when client
> tries to read the value at step 6? Is it possible that the client may see
> the new value? My understanding was if R + W > N, then client will not see
> the new value as Quorum nodes will not agree on the new value. If that is
> the case, then its alright to return failure to the client. However, if not,
> then it is difficult to program as after every failure, you as an client are
> not sure if failure is a pseudo failure with some side effects or real
> failure.
> Thanks,
> Ritesh
> <quote author='Dave Revell'>
> Ritesh,
> There is no commit protocol. Writes may be persisted on some replicas even
> though the quorum fails. Here's a sequence of events that shows the
> "problem:"
> 1. Some replica R fails, but recently, so its failure has not yet been
> detected
> 2. A client writes with consistency > 1
> 3. The write goes to all replicas, all replicas except R persist the write
> to disk
> 4. Replica R never responds
> 5. Failure is returned to the client, but the new value is still in the
> cluster, on all replicas except R.
> Something very similar could happen for CL QUORUM.
> This is a conscious design decision because a commit protocol would
> constitute tight coupling between nodes, which goes against the Cassandra
> philosophy. But unfortunately you do have to write your app with this case
> in mind.
> Best,
> Dave
> On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 8:22 PM, tijoriwala.ritesh <
>> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> > I wanted to get details on how does cassandra do synchronous writes to W
> > replicas (out of N)? Does it do a 2PC? If not, how does it deal with
> > failures of of nodes before it gets to write to W replicas? If the
> > orchestrating node cannot write to W nodes successfully, I guess it will
> > fail the write operation but what happens to the completed writes on X (W
> > >
> > X) nodes?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Ritesh
> > --
> > View this message in context:
> >
> > Sent from the mailing list archive
> at
> >
> >
> </quote>
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