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Consensus as a Network Service

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Consensus protocols are the foundation for building many fault-tolerant distributed systems and services. This talk posits that there are significant performance benefits to be gained by offering consensus as a network service (CAANS). CAANS leverages recent advances in commodity networking hardware design and programmability to implement consensus protocol logic in network devices. CAANS provides a complete Paxos protocol, is a drop-in replacement for software-based implementations of Paxos, makes no restrictions on network topologies, and is implemented in a higher-level, data-plane programming language, allowing for portability across a range of target devices. At the same time, CAANS significantly increases throughput and reduces latency for consensus operations. Consensus logic executing in hardware can transmit consensus messages at line speed, with latency only slightly higher than simply forwarding packets.

Pietro Bressana received his master’s degree in computer engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2015. He then moved to Lugano (Switzerland) where, after spending some months as a research assistant at Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), he became a PhD student of the Faculty of Informatics.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory NetOS Group Talklets series.

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