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Depending on Appending

February 28 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Speaker: Pat Helland (


Increasingly, we see “Gray Failures” in the datacenter and public cloud. This happens when a server, router, or other device just plain goes slow. This may result in severe problems in the user perceived performance as the slowness cascades, sometimes not slow enough to cause the exclusion of the bad devices.

In this talk, we briefly examine Gray Failures and consider the use of “append” to support our work. How has append been used in distributed systems? What are some novel ways that new cloud-centric databases use forms of append to partially address these issues? We conclude that it seems likely we can get relief by “Depending on Appending”.


Pat Helland has been working building databases, transaction systems, and distributed systems since 1978, a couple of years after dropping out of UC Irvine to feed his new family.

He is keenly interested in strong consistency, eventual consistency, scale, and making complex systems easy for application developers. Pat writes regularly for ACM Queue and Communications of the ACM.


February 28
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


DBH 3011