Chapter 11. Durability Guarantees

Table of Contents

Setting Acknowledgment-Based Durability Policies
Setting Synchronization-Based Durability Policies
Setting Durability Guarantees

Writes are performed in the KV store by performing the write operation (be it a creation, update, or delete operation) on a master node. As a part of performing the write operation, the master node will usually make sure that the operation has made it to stable storage before considering the operation complete.

The master node will also transmit the write operation to the replica nodes in its shard. It is possible to ask the master node to wait for acknowledgments from its replicas before considering the operation complete.


If your store is configured such that secondary zones are in use, then write acknowledgements are never required for the replicas in the secondary zones. That is, write acknowledgements are only returned by replicas in primary zones. See the Oracle NoSQL Database Administrator's Guide for more information on zones.

The replicas, in turn, will not acknowledge the write operation until they have applied the operation to their own database.

A durability guarantee, then, is a policy which describes how strongly persistent your data is in the event of some kind of catastrophic failure within the store. (Examples of a catastrophic failure are power outages, disk crashes, physical memory corruption, or even fatal application programming errors.)

A high durability guarantee means that there is a very high probability that the write operation will be retained in the event of a catastrophic failure. A low durability guarantee means that the write is very unlikely to be retained in the event of a catastrophic failure.

The higher your durability guarantee, the slower your write-throughput will be in the store. This is because a high durability guarantee requires a great deal of disk and network activity.

Usually you want some kind of a durability guarantee, although if you have highly transient data that changes from run-time to run-time, you might want the lowest possible durability guarantee for that data.

Durability guarantees include two types of information: acknowledgment guarantees and synchronization guarantees. These two types of guarantees are described in the next sections. We then show how to set a durability guarantee.

Note that by default, Oracle NoSQL Database uses a low durability guarantee.

Setting Acknowledgment-Based Durability Policies

Whenever a master node performs a write operation (create, update or delete), it must send that operation to its various replica nodes. The replica nodes then apply the write operation(s) to their local databases so that the replicas are consistent relative to the master node.

Upon successfully applying write operations to their local databases, replicas in primary zones send an acknowledgment message back to the master node. This message simply says that the write operation was received and successfully applied to the replica's local database. Replicas in secondary zones do not send these acknowledgement messages.


The exception to this are replicas in secondary zones, which will never acknowledge write operations. See the Oracle NoSQL Database Administrator's Guide for more information on zones.

An acknowledgment-based durability policy describes whether the master node will wait for these acknowledgments before considering the write operation to have completed successfully. You can require the master node to wait for no acknowledgments, acknowledgments from a simple majority of replica nodes in primary zones, or acknowledgments from all replica nodes in primary zones.

The more acknowledgments the master requires, the slower its write performance will be. Waiting for acknowledgments means waiting for a write message to travel from the master to the replicas, then for the write operation to be performed at the replica (this may mean disk I/O), then for an acknowledgment message to travel from the replica back to the master. From a computer application's point of view, this can all take a long time.

When setting an acknowledgment-based durability policy, you can require acknowledgment from:

  • All replicas. That is, all of the replica nodes in the shard that reside in a primary zone. Remember that your store has more than one shard, so the master node is not waiting for acknowledgments from every machine in the store.

  • No replicas. In this case, the master returns with normal status from the write operation as soon as it has met its synchronization-based durability policy. These are described in the next section.

  • A simple majority of replicas in primary zones. That is, if the shard has 5 replica nodes residing in primary zones, then the master will wait for acknowledgments from 3 nodes.