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https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ZOOKEEPER-368?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=12728596#action_12728596
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Flavio Paiva Junqueira commented on ZOOKEEPER-368:
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I prefer to have the INFORM message for a couple of reasons:

# Message complexity;
# It make the abstraction clear: Observers are only being informed of the 
outcome of agreement.

I agree that it has the disadvantage of requiring more modifications to the 
current code, which makes it sound a little scary, but I'm willing to see how 
it will end if we go down this path.

I also agree that observers should be able to propose request. I was 
considering it given, so I'm glad that Ben made it explicit. 

I was wondering how difficult it would be to make observers (perhaps even any 
replica) go into read-only mode once they disconnect from the rest of the 
ensemble. Should it be a different jira or it is something we can consider for 
this patch?

> Observers
> ---------
>
>                 Key: ZOOKEEPER-368
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ZOOKEEPER-368
>             Project: Zookeeper
>          Issue Type: New Feature
>          Components: quorum
>            Reporter: Flavio Paiva Junqueira
>            Assignee: Henry Robinson
>         Attachments: ZOOKEEPER-368.patch, ZOOKEEPER-368.patch
>
>
> Currently, all servers of an ensemble participate actively in reaching 
> agreement on the order of ZooKeeper transactions. That is, all followers 
> receive proposals, acknowledge them, and receive commit messages from the 
> leader. A leader issues commit messages once it receives acknowledgments from 
> a quorum of followers. For cross-colo operation, it would be useful to have a 
> third role: observer. Using Paxos terminology, observers are similar to 
> learners. An observer does not participate actively in the agreement step of 
> the atomic broadcast protocol. Instead, it only commits proposals that have 
> been accepted by some quorum of followers.
> One simple solution to implement observers is to have the leader forwarding 
> commit messages not only to followers but also to observers, and have 
> observers applying transactions according to the order followers agreed upon. 
> In the current implementation of the protocol, however, commit messages do 
> not carry their corresponding transaction payload because all servers 
> different from the leader are followers and followers receive such a payload 
> first through a proposal message. Just forwarding commit messages as they 
> currently are to an observer consequently is not sufficient. We have a couple 
> of options:
> 1- Include the transaction payload along in commit messages to observers;
> 2- Send proposals to observers as well.
> Number 2 is simpler to implement because it doesn't require changing the 
> protocol implementation, but it increases traffic slightly. The performance 
> impact due to such an increase might be insignificant, though.
> For scalability purposes, we may consider having followers also forwarding 
> commit messages to observers. With this option, observers can connect to 
> followers, and receive messages from followers. This choice is important to 
> avoid increasing the load on the leader with the number of observers. 

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