A Cost Benefit Approach to Fault Tolerant Communication and Information Access

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Technology Transfer
Secure Spread

Quarterly Technical Report, October 2002


This quarter we focused on developing new more advanced protocols to provide replication and dynamic network routing. We also enhanced the existing software systems by increasing their modularity and adding new capabilities. The new overlay network implementation provides a fully application independent platform upon which routing and reliability protocols can be developed.
  • New replication protocol:

    We continued to work on optimizing and evaluating the replication architecture.

    In order to comprehensively analyze the tradeoffs involved when replicating database systems on wide area networks, we implemented the modular version of the replication algorithm (Maintaining Database Consistency in P2P networks). We are practically evaluating the performance of this approach and comparing it with the performance of our replication architecture.

    We are investigating algorithmic and practical solutions for optimizing the cost of reconfigurations in the presence of faults in a wide-area network environment. We are also investigating algorithms that minimize the replication costs based on data partitioning and access patterns.

  • Overlay network infrastructure:

    We focused our work on the client-daemon communication in Spines. We develpoped a socket-like API for unreliable, best-effort UDP communication, and also for the session-based TCP reliable communication. This brings us the level of transparency necessary for making Spines easy to use in the socket programming paradigm, in a first step towoards complete transparency. We also analyzed the possibilities of poviding IP multicast service using Spines while using only simple unicast communication at the network level.

  • Wackamole:

    We have adapted Wackamole in order to provide n-way fail-over for routers. An example layout for this application of Wackamole consists of multiple physical routers that act as a single virtual router. An indivisible set of virtual addresses on different interfaces is allocated to the physical router currently acting as the fail over router. If the interface through which the machine is connected to Spread fails, or the machine itself crashes, the set of virtual addresses will be reallocated to a different machine. The set of physical routers running Wackamole, each of which is potentially "the" router, can be conceptualized as a single virtual router. facilities and enhancing the multiplatform support.

Our approach to providing fault-tolerant networks was extended, to include more dynamic network environments such as ad-hoc wireless networks. In particular, we addressed the routing survivability problem under an adversarial model where any intermediate node or group of nodes can perform byzantine attacks such as creating routing loops, misrouting packets on non-optimal paths, or selectively dropping packets. Our on-demand routing algorithm addresses both fault-tolerant and security concerns and uses an adaptive probing technique that identifies a faulty link after log n faults have occurred, where n is the length of the path. A multiplicative increase scheme is used to penalize ``faulty''links which are then rehabilitated over time. This list is used by the route discovery phase to avoid faulty paths. More details about this work can be found in a report below.


An On-Demand Secure Routing Protocol Resilient to Byzantine Failures
ps, ps.gz, pdf. In ACM Workshop on Wireless Security (WiSe) , Atlanta, Georgia, September 28 2002.

Baruch Awerbuch, Dave Holmer, Cristina Nita-Rotaru, and Herbert Rubens.

An ad hoc wireless network is an autonomous self-organizing system of mobile nodes connected by wireless links where nodes not in direct range can communicate via intermediate nodes. A common technique used in routing protocols for ad hoc wireless networks is to establish the routing paths on-demand, as opposed to continually maintaining a complete routing table. A significant concern in routing is the ability to function in the presence of byzantine failures which include nodes that drop, modify, or mis-route packets in an attempt to disrupt the routing service.

We propose an on-demand routing protocol for ad hoc wireless networks that provides resilience to byzantine failures caused by individual or colluding nodes. Our adaptive probing technique detects a malicious link after log faults have occurred, where n is the length of the path. These links are then avoided by multiplicatively increasing their weights and by using an on-demand route discovery protocol that finds a least weight path to the destination.

On the Performance of Synchronous Wide-Area Database Replication
Technical Report CNDS-2002-4, September 2002.

Yair Amir, Claudiu Danilov, Michal Miskin-Amir, Jonathan Stanton and Ciprian Tutu.

A fundamental challenge in database replication is maintaining a low cost of updates while assuring global system consistency. The problem is magnified for wide-area replication due to the high latency and the increased likelihood of network partitions. As a consequence, most database replication research moved away from strictly consistent models to update models with weaker semantics, relying on application knowledge to resolve conflicts.

This paper explores a synchronous replication architecture for local and wide-area networks that provides strong consistency and performs considerably better than previous consistent approaches. As a proof of concept, we implemented transparanet replication for the Postgres database system.

Our results show that sophisticated algorithms and careful distributed systems design can make symmetric, synchronous, peer database replication a reality over both local and wide-area networsk.

Plans for Next Quarter:

  • Data level resiliency: We will continue to develop algorithms that will enable smart decision making with respect to data placement, which will further reduce the costs for providing data fault-tolerance.

  • Wackamole: We plan to release a new version of Wackamole with enhanced algorithm that better support survivable routers.

  • Overlay network infrastructure: We plan to release the first version of Spines as an overlay network research tool and make it available open source. We also plan to provide multipath routing using the Cost Benefit framework and implement the IP multicast mechanisms in Spines.

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Distributed Systems and Networks Lab
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Johns Hopkins University
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