Manual Concepts for Distributed Systems Design

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Distributed Computing

Cloud storage is often promoted as an FTP alternative, but can it be an effective, easy-to-implement replacement for existing FTP processes? Cloud storage can seem like a great alternative to an FTP server.

What is Eventual Consistency?

For example, looking at the database models of our imaginary application a developer would likely see references to multiple entities in the system. Users, Organizations, Surveys, Subscriptions, and Teams. There are many ways to build a microservice architecture, but breaking such an application into microservices might commonly look like a separate application for each of the entities each of which may run on its own set of separate infrastructure. Components in a distributed system communicate via message passing. Message passing means that each component in the distributed system has a contract which defines what sorts of messages it is able to receive and interpret, and what sorts of messages it will give as responses.


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Documenting these contracts for each component is important because people working on one component gain the ability to interact with the wider system by following the contract. A common way for components in a distributed application to communicate is via HTTP. HTTP is the protocol your web browser uses to send data to and from web-pages on the internet.

Within a distributed application, different servers can use HTTP similarly to communicate information amongst themselves and bring a full application piece of software to life. RESTful APIs are one common specification for how message passing can be accomplished between components in a web application. There are other protocols that can achieve message passing between components, for example, Thrift and GRPC accomplish message fasting with higher throughput and without the use of HTTP. This makes them potentially good options for applications where the amount of traffic and communication between components is expected to be very high.

A major difference between parallel computing and distributed computing is that in a parallel computing system each component of the system has access to shared memory. In distributed computing, there is no shared memory and each component must communicate information about its internal state via message passing. In order for the User creation to roll back in case the Wallet creation later fails, the User microservice must keep some information about the current state of the Wallet service in its memory.

The concept of eventual consistency could be useful for this problem. Eventual consistency means that after some amount of time N, the entire distributed system will be in its correct state. For example, if the Wallet creation were to fail after the User creation, at time N-1 the User creation will not have been rolled back; however, at time N the creation will have been rolled back.

To accomplish this, individual microservices can publish events to a message queue, and other services can monitor the message queue to invoke business logic for operations like User and Wallet creation. A load balancer works to spread traffic across a number of different servers in order to make applications more responsive and available.

Introduction to Distributed System Design - Google Code University - Google Code

For example, imagine 1 million users make requests to your application simultaneously. By putting a load balancer between your application and the users who are making requests, you can gain the benefit of having redundant versions of your application running on separate machines. If you had 5 machines running your application, the load balancer might send , of the 1,, requests to each of the 5 machines, rather than having all of the requests processed by one machine. A load balancer can also keep track of the status of the various machines running in your distributed system.

Distributed computing

For example, if a server fails and is not responding to requests or perhaps it is responding with more errors than the other servers , the load balancer can stop sending a request to that particular server. Load balancing is important because it is an effective tool for keeping an application high availability. Even if there is a power outage and some computers in your distributed system are not available, a load balancer combined with duplicate instances of your application can ensure your application is still available for users.

Using distributed computing can be useful for large software teams, because the larger team can be organized into smaller units while reducing the risk that any given team introduces breaking changes to the wider system.

Because distributed systems rely on message passing to communicate, and focus on high availability and performance of individual components, smaller teams can define a set of abstractions for only their part of the system. Once these abstractions are defined, team members need to be less concerned about their changes impacting other pieces of the software. As long as the abstractions they have defined for their components do not change e. Faults are most often caused by hardware or software problems, or by malicious actors. Analyzing and increasing the fault tolerance of a distributed system involves solving for these factors.

Data replication is the storage of replica data sets at a number of locations that can be interchangeably accessed by the application. If one data source encounters a hardware or software problem, the replica data set can be accessed quickly, leading to little risk of downtime for users. This increases the availability of the application thereby making it more fault tolerant.

What is Distributed Systems?

A distributed system is a collection of independent computers linked together by a network. They appear to their end users as a single coherent system.

In a distributed system, components located within the network communicate and organize their actions by passing messages. Distributed systems have a handful of core differentiating characteristics. In such a system, programs are executed concurrently, there is no global time, and components can fail independently without causing a full system failure or crash. No system architecture is perfect, so distributes systems definitely have their downfalls.

Downfalls of developing distributed software include networking problems and security problems, though a good team of technicians and developers can usually tackle common issues quickly and efficiently. Mobile computing has a unique advantage when using different devices, such as mobile devices, laptops, and printers. Ubiquitous computing is used in a single environment, such as at home or in hospitals.

The degree to which a complex computer system can be extended and re-implemented depends on openness. There are several security mechanisms used, including encryption, authentication passwords, public key authentication, etc.