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CAP Continued: Someone is Wrong on the Internet

Once again closing the circle on this last week’s CAP theorem discussions, Jeff Darcy comments on Stonebraker’s clarifications on the CAP theorem:

In my experience, network partitions do not happen often. Specifically, they occur less frequently than the sum of bohrbugs, application errors, human errors and reprovisioning events. So it doesn’t much matter what you do when confronted with network partitions. Surviving them will not “move the needle” on availability because higher frequency events will cause global outages. Hence, you are giving up something (consistency) and getting nothing in return.

So, because network partitions occur less than some other kind of error, we shouldn’t worry about them? Because more people die in cars than in planes, we shouldn’t try to make planes safer? Also, notice how he says that network partitions are rare in his experience. His experience may be vast, but much of it is irrelevant because the scale and characteristics of networks nowadays are unlike those of even five years ago. People with more recent experience at higher scale seem to believe that network partitions are an important issue, and claiming that partitions are rare in (increasingly common) multi-datacenter environments is just ridiculous. Based on all this plus my own experience, I think dealing with network partitions does “move the needle” on availability and is hardly “nothing in return” at all. Sure, being always prepared for a partition carries a cost, but so does the alternative and that’s the whole point of CAP.

Original title and link: CAP Continued: Someone is Wrong on the Internet (NoSQL databases © myNoSQL)