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

From: Newcomer, Eric <Eric.Newcomer@iona.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 09:51:31 -0500
Message-ID: <DCF6EF589A22A14F93DFB949FD8C4AB20107366D@amereast-ems1.IONAGLOBAL.COM>
To: "Peter Furniss" <peter.furniss@choreology.com>, <www-ws-arch@w3.org>


A lot of the discussion on this topic separates RM from BTP, but I think you are suggesting the BTP can be used to achieve RM?  If so, could you post a brief example and/or description of how that might be achieved?



-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Furniss [mailto:peter.furniss@choreology.com]
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2002 6:57 AM
To: Newcomer, Eric; www-ws-arch@w3.org
Subject: RE: Reliability is really two-phase (was RE: Reliable Web


But "i've got it", in any kind of reliable way, requires very similar
implementation constructs as btp. Obviously, if all goes well, then
a simple reply (or indeed, just tcp level ack) tells you the far-end is
on the case. And if your operation is inherently safe or idempotent, you
can just send it as often as you like until you get back at least one

But if your operation is neither safe nor idempotent, you will need to
make it effectively idempotent by putting an identifier on it, and
requiring the receiver not to apply duplicates, but repeat its
first reply. And the receiver must remember that identifier and reply
until it can be sure it won't be asked again.

That's essentially the same as a transaction-type exchange, with the
minor variation that the client is the inferior on the exchange. (my "g)"
paragraph) - so the relationship is established the other way round to

I don't see any need for additional establishment mechanisms or sessions.
There is no need to send the transactional messages separately - they can
be carried with the application messages (as headers). And the question
of whether there are several exchanges bound together in one decision, or
if each is dealt with alone, is a question of the internals and api's of
the party - it needn't affect the inter-party exchanges at all.

Or - wait a minute - I think I may agree with you !  "a starting point,
ensuring it's extensible " - to recast what I've said: the simple ack
starting point *is* the simple use case of a two-party, inferior-established
BTP "outcome" relationship. To be extensible, it would be a mistake to
confine it to "reliable messaging", where the meaning of "ok" is just
"this message has arrived somewhere fairly safe", and disallows "not-ok"
from meaning "i am not going to do what you ask, for reasons that don't
concern you".

Have fun


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Newcomer, Eric [mailto:Eric.Newcomer@iona.com]
> Sent: 19 December 2002 17:44
> To: Peter Furniss; www-ws-arch@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Reliability is really two-phase (was RE: Reliable Web
> Services)
> Peter,
> Yes, but I would still like to define a simple ack mechainsm to
> achieve the "i've got it" level of reliability as a starting
> point, ensuring it's extensible of course.  To achieve the "work
> is done/not done" level we would need to include more complicated
> protocols establishing or simulating sessions or conversations.
> I think the "I've got it" is sufficient to achieve the purposes
> for which Web services are currently best suited, basically
> asynch document exchange.
> Eric
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Furniss [mailto:peter.furniss@choreology.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 9:17 PM
> To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
> Subject: Reliability is really two-phase (was RE: Reliable Web Services)
> 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
> ------------------------------------------
> 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 Monday, 23 December 2002 09:52:41 UTC

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