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From James Strachan <>
Subject Re: Replication using totem protocol
Date Fri, 13 Jan 2006 14:16:55 GMT
On 1/13/06, Jules Gosnell <> wrote:
> wrote:
> >> wrote:
> >>Okay. I will ask you a question then. What are you doing as far caching
> >entity beans?
> >
> >
> In terms or replication or some form of distributed invalidation, I'm
> not aware that this has been discussed yet.
> This is another one for the forthcoming doc - briefly :
> If you cluster an entity bean on two nodes naively, you lose many of the
> benefits of caching. This is because neither node, at the beginning of a
> transaction, knows whether the other node has changed the beans contents
> since it was last loaded into cache, so the cache must be assumed
> invalid. Thus, you find yourself going to the db much more frequently
> than you would like, and the number of trips increases linearly with the
> number of clients - i.e. you are no longer scalable.

It depends on your transaction isolation level; i.e. do you want to do a
dirty read or not. You should be able to enable dirty reads to get
scalability & performance.

The only way to really and truly know if the cache is up to date is to use a
pessimistic read lock; but thats what databases are great for - so you might
as well use the DB and not the cache in those circumstances. i.e. you always
use caches for dirty reads

If you can arrange for the cache on one node to notify the cache on
> other nodes, whenever an entity is changed, then the other caches can
> optimise their actions, so that rather assuming that all beans are
> invalid, they can pinpoint the ones that actually are invalid and only
> reload those.
> You could go one step further and send, not an invalidation, but a
> replication message. This would contain the Entity's new value and head
> off any reloading from the DB at all....

The two main strategies here are

* invalidation; as each entity changes it sends an invalidation message -
which is really simple & doesn't need total ordering, just something
lightweight & fast. (Actually pure multicast is fine for invalidation stuff
since messages are tiny & reliability is not that big a deal, particularly
if coupled with a cache timeout/reload policy).

* broadcasting the new data to interested parties (say everyone else in the
cluster). This typically requires either (i) a global publisher (maybe
listening to the DB transaction log) or (ii) total ordering if each entity
bean server sends its changes.

The former is good for very high update rates or very sparse caches, the
latter is good when everyone interested in the cluster needs to cache mostly
the same stuff & the cache size is sufficient that most nodes have all the
same data in their cache. The former is more lightweight and simpler & a
good first step :)




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