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Open Access Publications from the University of California

SoK: A Generalized Multi-Leader State Machine Replication Tutorial


MultiPaxos and Raft are the two most popular and widely deployed state machine replication protocols. There is a more sophisticated family of generalized multi-leader state machine replication protocols like EPaxos, Caesar, and Atlas that have better performance, but they are extremely complicated and hard to understand. Due to their complexity, they have seen little to no industry adoption, and academically there has been a lack of clarity in analyzing, comparing, and extending the protocols. This paper is a tutorial on generalized multi-leader protocols. We explain why the protocols work the way they do, what they have in common, where they differ, which parts of the protocols are straightforward, which are more subtle than they appear, and so on. In doing so, we present four new generalized multi-leader protocols, identify key insights into existing protocols, and taxonomize the space.

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