Multi-Version Coding-An Information-Theoretic Perspective of Consistent Distributed Storage

Zhiying Wang, Viveck R. Cadambe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In applications of distributed storage systems to distributed computing and implementation of key-value stores, the following property, usually referred to as consistency in distributed computing, is an important requirement: As the data stored changes, the latest version of the data must be accessible to a client that connects to the storage system. Motivated by technological trends where key-value stores are increasingly implemented in high-speed memory, an information theoretic formulation called multi-version coding is introduced in this paper in order to understand and minimize the memory overhead of consistent distributed storage. Multi-version coding is characterized by ν totally ordered versions of a message and a storage system with n servers. At each server, values corresponding to an arbitrary subset of the ν versions are received and encoded. For any subset of c servers in the storage system, the value corresponding to the latest common version or a later version, as per the total ordering, among the c servers is required to be decodable. An achievable multi-version code construction via linear coding and a converse result that shows that the construction is asymptotically tight when ν |(c-1) are provided. An implication of the converse is that there is an inevitable price, in terms of storage cost, to ensure consistency in distributed storage systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4540-4561
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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