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Re: Reliability is really two-phase (was RE: Reliable Web Services)

From: Ricky Ho <riho@cisco.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 21:39:28 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Peter Furniss" <peter.furniss@choreology.com>, <www-ws-arch@w3.org>

Are you implying at point (j) that by using BTP, reliable messaging is not 
necessary ?  I think they are solving orthogonal problem.  In fact, BTP 
without reliable messaging is not sufficient for conducting high money 
value transaction in a reliable manner.

Rgds, Ricky

At 02:16 AM 12/18/2002 +0000, Peter Furniss wrote:

>The reliability requirement really means that you need
>the sort of mechanisms and exchanges of two-phase outcome
>(as in OASIS BTP).  "reliable messaging", depending on the
>details of its mechanisms, is variously giving less that it
>seems, or is just as complicated (and, in some cases, both).
>To expand that assertion a bit:
>a) i'm assuming reliability can be defined as two parties needing to have
>a consistent view as to whether some work has or has not been done
>by one of them at the request of the other
>   [ this is the 0 or 1 case, and is the centre of state alignment -
>   where I change my view of the shared state because I know you have/will]
>b) the critical feature is that one side accepts
>that the other side will make the definitive determination as
>to whether the work is to be done; the deferring side
>agrees to accept/apply/follow that determination once it knows of it
>  [ which is the essence of the solution to the two armies problem - their
>problem was that neither side will make an unconditional decision, but
>wants the other side to make an irrevocable decision as a condition of
>its own]
>c) once the determination has been made, the repetition and recovery
>rules of the transaction protocol make sure the other side will
>know eventually
>d) you normally want to know that the application has really done
>the work. In some cases, it may be sufficient to know that
>the work will eventually be done (e.g. it's been dropped on a
>reliable queue) - but that means that either there is no
>comeback or any comeback is a whole new activity.
>e) the "simple" ack approach actually requires some extra
>messages to avoid one or both sides having to remember the
>request (or some identification on it) indefinitely or have
>a complicated set of timeout rules as to when they can forget
>things. (and that's before we worry about surviving crashes)
>f) reliable messaging (including things like HTTPR) are
>distinguished from two-phase outcome only by what is counted
>as the "decision" - it's "message received", not "work is/will be done".
>The systems have to store similar information/identifiers
>and follow similar rules as to when to persist and
>delete this information. [ in other words, it's not really simpler
>to just use reliable messaging ]
>g) some of the scenarios differ from the classic
>two-phase commit exchanges in that the sender of the first
>message is the one that defers to the other side's decision.
>(classic two-phase is client asks server to defer to the
>client's decision). This has some impact on how the
>relationship gets established, but doesn't significantly
>affect what happens later (in terms of retries, persistence,
>recovery sequences).
>h) expel from your mind any assumptions about how the party
>that is waiting on the other's determination/decision is
>holding itself able to obey. (two-phase commit does *not*
>imply two-phase locking). It may hold the information in
>a distinguished interim state (outbound buffer, uncleared funds,
>marked as reserved). It may completely perform its work and
>retain a means of un-performing it. It may just check it could
>perform its work and remember what it must do.
>i) the transaction mechanisms actually allow for more complex
>arrangements - the coordination role can be distinguished from
>the resource-holding parties on each side, and there can be
>more than two such parties. But for comparison with reliable
>messaging, we can consider all the roles to be on one side or
>the other, and consider only a single bilateral relationship.
>j) using a loosely-coupled transaction mechanism like BTP means
>the application code doesn't have to get tangled up in the recovery,
>repeats etc. Setting of timeouts and the like becomes a
>configuration question (possibly even a dynamic configuration
>question if you really want to).
>k) a two-phase outcome exchange doesn't really seem to count as
>"orchestration" or "choreography" as I understand those. It's
>just a matter "please do this", "I can do this", "I can't do this" etc.
>Any compensation/counter-operation/reversal is delegated to the
>party that has to do the reversal, rather than having to be
>explicitly exposed as a counter-operation distinctly accessed
>by the other side.
>That's enough for now - I'm probably still obscure through
>brevity, but the message is long enough already.
>Peter Furniss
>Chief Scientist, Choreology Ltd
>    Cohesions 1.0 (TM)
>    Business transaction management software for application coordination
>web: http://www.choreology.com
>email:  peter.furniss@choreology.com
>phone:  +44 20 7670 1679
>direct: +44 20 7670 1783
>mobile: +44 7951 536168
>13 Austin Friars, London EC2N 2JX
Received on Thursday, 19 December 2002 01:12:28 UTC

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