Scalable storage systems, where data is sharded across many machines, are necessary to support web services whose data is too large for a single machine to handle. An ideal system would provide the lowest latency—to make the web services built on top of it fast—and the strongest guarantees—to make programming the web service easier. Theoretical results prove that such an ideal system is impossible, but all hope is not lost! Our work has made progress on this problem from both directions: providing stronger guarantees for low latency systems and providing lower latency for systems with strong guarantees. I will cover one of these systems, Rococo, in detail. I will also touch on our recent impossibility result, the SNOW Theorem, and how it guided us in building new systems with latency-optimal read-only transactions.
Wyatt Lloyd is a third-year Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. His research interests include the theory, design, implementation, evaluation, and deployment of large-scale distributed systems. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2013 for the COPS and Eiger systems, which demonstrated stronger semantics were compatible with low latency for scalable geo-replicated storage. He then spent a year as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Facebook, and he continues to collaborate with its engineers on projects related to media processing, storage, and delivery.