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This paper presents the design and implementation of Dynamo, a highly available key-value storage system that some of Amazon’s core services use to provide an “always-on” experience.To achieve this level of availability, Dynamo sacrifices consistency under certain failure scenarios.As such Amazon’s software systems need to be constructed in a manner that treats failure handling as the normal case without impacting availability or performance.To meet the reliability and scaling needs, Amazon has developed a number of storage technologies, of which the Amazon Simple Storage Service (also available outside of Amazon and known as Amazon S3), is probably the best known.
Dynamo is used to manage the state of services that have very high reliability requirements and need tight control over the tradeoffs between availability, consistency, cost-effectiveness and performance.Dynamo provides a simple primary-key only interface to meet the requirements of these applications.Dynamo uses a synthesis of well known techniques to achieve scalability and availability: Data is partitioned and replicated using consistent hashing , and consistency is facilitated by object versioning .We submitted the technology for publication in SOSP because many of the techniques used in Dynamo originate in the operating systems and distributed systems research of the past years; DHTs, consistent hashing, versioning, vector clocks, quorum, anti-entropy based recovery, etc.As far as I know Dynamo is the first production system to use the synthesis of all these techniques, and there are quite a few lessons learned from doing so. We are extremely fortunate that the paper was selected for publication in SOSP; only a very few true production systems have made it into the conference and as such it is a recognition of the quality of the work that went into building a real incrementally scalable storage system in which the most important properties can be appropriately configured.
Amazon’s platform has a very diverse set of applications with different storage requirements.