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Ordered and Reliable Multicast Communication

Report ID:
September 1988
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A multicast group is a collection of processes that are the destinations of the same sequence of messages. These messages may originate at one or more source sites and the destination processes may run on one or more sites, not necessarily distinct. A multicast protocol is responsible for the delivery of messages to the appropriate processes. Some applications require that the protocol provide some guarantees on the order in which messages are delivered. In addition, in many cases reliability of delivery is essential. In this paper we characterize three ordering properties and discuss their solutions. We concentrate on the multiple group ordering property, which guarantees that two messages destined to two processes are delivered in the same relative order, even if they originate at different sources and are addressed to different multicast groups. We present a new protocol that solves the multiple group ordering problem. We present extensive experimental results that illustrate the performance of our algorithm compared to other techniques for ordering multicasts. We address the issue of reliability by providing several
alternatives for handling message loss and site crash recovery. We explore the usefulness of these with a comparison to the reliability guarantees of the other proposed solutions. In many cases our new algorithm solves the problem with greater efficiency than previous solutions without sacrificing reliability.

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