On 2/4/2007 3:16 AM, Peter Eisentraut wrote:
Jan Wieck wrote:
This is all that is needed for last update wins resolution. And as
said before, the only reason the clock is involved in this is so that
nodes can continue autonomously when they lose connection without
conflict resolution going crazy later on, which it would do if they
were simple counters. It doesn't require microsecond synchronized
clocks and the system clock isn't just used as a Lamport timestamp.

Earlier you said that "one assumption is that all servers in the multimaster cluster are ntp synchronized", which already rung the alarm bells in me. Now that I read this you appear to require synchronization not on the microsecond level but on some level. I think that would be pretty hard to manage for an administrator, seeing that NTP typically cannot provide such guarantees.

Synchronization to some degree is wanted to avoid totally unexpected behavior. The conflict resolution algorithm itself can perfectly fine live with counters, but I guess you wouldn't want the result of it. If you update a record on one node, then 10 minutes later you update the same record on another node. Unfortunately, the nodes had no communication and because the first node is much busier, its counter is way advanced ... this would mean the 10 minutes later update would get lost in the conflict resolution when the nodes reestablish communication. They would have the same data at the end, just not what any sane person would expect.

This behavior will kick in whenever the cross node conflicting updates happen close enough so that the time difference between the clocks can affect it. So if you update the logical same row on two nodes within a tenth of a second, and the clocks are more than that apart, the conflict resolution can result in the older row to survive. Clock synchronization is simply used to minimize this.

The system clock is used only to keep the counters somewhat synchronized in the case of connection loss to retain some degree of "last update" meaning. Without that, continuing autonomously during a network outage is just not practical.


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