Date of Original Version

3-2001

Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

This paper presents a set of techniques for providing fine-grained failover of long-running connections across a distributed collection of replica servers, and is especially useful for fault-tolerant and load-balanced delivery of streaming media and telephony sessions. Our system achieves connection-level failover across both local- and wide-area server replication, without requiring a front-end transport- or application-layer switch. Our approach uses recently proposed end-to-end ``connection migration'' mechanisms for transport protocols such as TCP, combined with a soft-state session synchronization protocol between replica servers.

The end result is a robust, fast, and fine-grained connection failover mechanism that is transparent to client applications, and largely transparent to the server applications. We describe the details of our design and Linux implementation, as well as experimental data that suggests this approach is an attractive way to engineer robust systems for distributing long-running streams; connections suffer relatively small performance degradation even when migration occurs every few seconds, and the associated server overhead is small.

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