Bolt-on Causal Consistency

We consider the problem of separating consistency-related safety properties from availability and durability in distributed data stores via the application of a “bolt-on” shim layer that upgrades the safety of an underlying general-purpose data store. This shim provides the same consistency guarantees atop a wide range of widely deployed but often inflexible stores. As causal consistency is one of the strongest consistency models that remain available during system partitions, we develop a shim layer that upgrades eventually consistent stores to provide convergent causal consistency. Accordingly, we leverage widely deployed eventually consistent infrastructure as a common substrate for providing causal guarantees. We describe algorithms and shim implementations that are suitable for a large class of application-level causality relationships and evaluate our techniques using an existing, production-ready data store and with real-world explicit causality relationships.