Large-Scale Distributed Database Systems
in the NEOPPOD Project?
Olivier Bertrand1, Aur´
elien Calonne2, Christine Choppy1, Silien Hong3,
Kais Klai1, Fabrice Kordon3, Emmanuel Paviot-Adet3,
Laure Petrucci1, and Jean-Paul Smets2
1 LIPN, CNRS UMR 7030, Universit´e Paris XIII,
99 avenue Jean-Baptiste Cl´
ement, 93430 Villetaneuse, France
2 NEXEDI, 270 bd Cl´emenceau, 59700 Marcq-en-Barœul, France
3 LIP6 - CNRS UMR 7606, Universit´e Pierre & Marie Curie,
4 PLace Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Nowadays, large applications are developed that must access and maintain huge
data bases. Examples of such software are e-government, internet based infor-
mation systems, commerce registries, etc.). They are characterised not only by
the huge amount of data they manipulate, but also by a mandatory high level
of security and reliability.
Hardware has become rather cheap: 150e for a 64-bit dual core server, and
100e for a 1TB disk. A large application and data base server could be composed
of hundreds of such disks and servers. It would thus be possible to handle as
much as 1PB of data and thousands simultaneous transactions, for a moderate
investment of 175,000e. However, this requires to elaborate reliable and safe
distributed data base management software.
ZODB, the Zope Object Database, has become within a few years the most
used object data base. This libre software, associated to the Zope application
server is used for a Central Bank, to manage the monetary system of 80 million
people in 8 countries . It is also used for accounting, ERP, CRM, ECM and
knowledge management. It is now a major libre software as PHP or MySQL is.
However, the current Zope architecture does not apply yet for data as huge as
those mentioned earlier. In order to attain such performances, the architecture
had to be revisited. It led to the design of an original peer-to-peer transaction
protocol: NEO. This protocol must also ensure both safety and reliability, which
is not easy to achieve for distributed systems using traditional testing techniques.
The aim of the NEOPPOD project is to formally verify safety and reliability
properties for the new NEO protocol. The process thus involves the model design,
expected properties verification and eventual revision of the protocol according
to the results obtained.
? This work is supported by FEDER ˆIle-de-France/System@tic—libre software.
The new NEO protocol is expected to handle clusters of 100 to 10,000 server
nodes. Therefore, safety and reliability are critical issues. The project aims at
considering both qualitative (e.g. data consistency) and quantitative (e.g. per-
formance aspects) characteristics of the system. This requires the use of different
formal methods that should be operated from a common specification for con-
Modelling issues: Hence, designing an appropriate specification is a first chal-
lenge. Starting from the protocol description, a reverse-engineering process al-
lows for extracting step-by-step a corresponding symmetric Petri net mode .
Since the original program description is very large and well structured, it is
mapped to a modular specification. However, in order to mimic different config-
urations of the cluster architecture, as well as the different roles of the servers
involved, w.r.t. the protocol operation, the model must also be highly parame-
Verification issues: Since numerous instances of several actors are involved in
the system, the combinatorial explosion of the state space is a major difficulty.
Dedicated techniques exploiting characteristics of distributed systems must be
elaborated. These techniques rely on both exploiting symmetries and use of
compact data structures such as decision diagrams. Finally, the hierarchical ar-
chitecture must be exploited to separate local actions in the system from those
affecting several components.
Since the model is highly modular, compositional and/or modular verification
approaches must be investigated. This should be particularly interesting to check
the dimensioning of the system elements by means of place bounds.
The expected outcome of this project are :
– a modular specification designed with several levels of abstraction ;
– verification of critical properties of the protocol, such as data consistency,
correct fault recovery, detection of bottlenecks ;
– pushing further the limits of verification tools and techniques, enhancing the
CPN-AMI platform .
1. G. Chiola, C. Dutheillet, G. Franceschinis, and S. Haddad. A symbolic reachability
graph for coloured Petri nets. Theoretical Computer Science, 176(1–2):39–65, 1997.
2. ERP5. Central Bank Implements Open Source ERP5 in Eight Countries after Pro-
prietary System Failed. http://www.erp5.com/news-central.bank.
3. MoVe-Team. The CPN-AMI Home page, url: http://www.lip6.fr/cpn-ami.