16 Jul 2012

PipeCloud: Using Causality to Overcome Speed-of-Light Delays in Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Posted by iwgcr


Disaster Recovery (DR) is a desirable feature for all enterprises, and a crucial one for many. However, adoption of DR remains limited due to the stark tradeoffs it imposes. To recover an application to the point of crash, one is limited by financial considerations, substantial application overhead, or minimal geographical separation between the primary and recovery sites. In this paper, we argue for cloud-based DR and pipelined synchronous replication as an antidote to these problems. Cloud hosting promises economies of scale and on-demand provisioning that are a perfect fit for the infrequent yet urgent needs of DR. Pipelined synchrony addresses the impact of WAN replication latency on performance, by efficiently overlapping replication with application processing for multi-tier servers. By tracking the consequences of the disk modifications that are persisted to a recovery site all the way to client-directed messages, applications realize forward progress while retaining full consistency guarantees for client-visible state in the event of a disaster. PipeCloud, our prototype, is able to sustain these guarantees for multi-node servers composed of black-box VMs, with no need of application modification, resulting in a perfect fit for the arbitrary nature of VM-based cloud hosting. We demonstrate disaster failover to the Amazon EC2 platform, and show that PipeCloud can increase throughput by an order of magnitude and reduce response times by more than half compared to synchronous replication, all while providing the same zero data loss consistency guarantees.


  • Timothy Wood, The George Washington
  • H. Andrés Lagar-Cavilla, AT&T Labs – Research
  • K.K. Ramakrishnan, AT&T Labs – Research
  • Prashant Shenoy, University of Massachusetts
  • Jacobus Van der Merwe, AT&T Labs – Research