Skip to main content

Unifying divergence bounding and locality awareness in replicated systems with vector-field consistency


Data replication is a very relevant technique for improving performance, availability, and scalability. These are requirements of many applications such as multiplayer distributed games, cooperative software tools, etc. However, consistency of the replicated shared state is hard to ensure. Current consistency models and middleware systems lack the required adaptability and efficiency. Thus, developing such robust applications is still a daunting task.

We propose a new consistency model, named Vector-Field Consistency (VFC) that unifies (i) several forms of consistency enforcement and a multidimensional criteria (time, sequence, and value) to limit replica divergence with (ii) techniques based on locality-awareness (w.r.t. players position).

Based on the VFC model, we propose a generic meta-architecture that can be easily instantiated both to centralized and (dynamically) partitioned architectures: (i) a single central server in which the VFC algorithm runs or (ii) a set of servers in which each one is responsible for a slice of the data being shared. The first approach is clearly more adapted to ad hoc networks of resource-constrained devices, while the second, being more scalable, is well adapted to large-scale networks. We developed and evaluated two prototypes of VFC (for ad hoc and large-scale networks) with very good performance results.


  1. Alonso R, Barbara D, Garcia-Molina H (1990) Data caching issues in an information retrieval system. ACM Trans Database Syst 15(3):359–384

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Assiotis M, Tzanov V (2006) A distributed architecture for MMORPG. In: NetGames ’06: proceedings of 5th ACM SIGCOMM workshop on network and system support for games. ACM, New York, p 4

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  3. Balan R, Ebling M, Castro P, Misra A (2005) Matrix: adaptive middleware for distributed multiplayer games. In: ACM/IFIP middleware conference

  4. Bezerra CE, Cecin FR, Geyer CFR (2008) A3: A novel interest management algorithm for distributed simulations of mmogs. In: DS-RT ’08: proceedings of the 2008 12th IEEE/ACM international symposium on distributed simulation and real-time applications. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, pp 35–42

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  5. Bharambe A, Pang J, Seshan S (2006) Colyseus: a distributed architecture for online multiplayer games. In: NSDI’06: proceedings of the 3rd conference on networked systems design & implementation. USENIX Association, Berkeley, pp 3–6

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bharambe AR, Douceur JR, Lorch JR, Moscibroda T, Pang J, Seshan S, Zhuang X (2008) Donnybrook: enabling large-scale, high-speed, peer-to-peer games. In: Bahl V, Wetherall D, Savage S, Stoica I (eds) SIGCOMM. ACM, New York, pp 389–400

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  7. Cai W, Xavier P, Turner SJ, Lee B-S (2002) A scalable architecture for supporting interactive games on the internet. In: PADS ’02: proceedings of the 16th workshop on parallel and distributed simulation. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, pp 60–67

    Google Scholar 

  8. Chen J, Wu B, Delap M, Knutsson B, Lu H, Amza C (2005) Locality aware dynamic load management for massively multiplayer games. In: Proceedings of the 10th ACM SIGPLAN symposium on principles and practice of parallel programming, pp 289–300

  9. Cronin E, Kurc AR, Filstrup B, Jamin S (2004) An efficient synchronization mechanism for mirrored game architectures. Multimed Tools Appl 23(1):7–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Funkhouser TA (1995) Ring: a client-server system for multi-user virtual environments. In: SI3D ’95: proceedings of the 1995 symposium on interactive 3D graphics. ACM, New York, pp 85–ff

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  11. Griwodz C (2002) State replication for multiplayer games. In: Proceedings of the 1st workshop on network and system support for games, pp 29–35

  12. Hampel T, Bopp T, Hinn R (2006) A peer-to-peer architecture for massive multiplayer online games. In: NetGames ’06: proceedings of 5th ACM SIGCOMM workshop on network and system support for games. ACM, New York, p 48

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  13. Knutsson B, Lu H, Xu W, Hopkins B (2004) Peer-to-peer support for massively multiplayer games. In: IEEE Infocom

  14. Krishnakumar N, Bernstein A (1994) Bounded ignorance: a technique for increasing concurrency in a replicated system. ACM Trans Database Syst 19(4):586–625

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Krishnakumar N, Jain R (1997) Escrow techniques for mobile sales and inventory applications. Wirel Netw 3(3):235–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kwok M, Wong JW (2008) Scalability analysis of the hierarchical architecture for distributed virtual environments. IEEE Trans Parallel Distrib Syst 19(3):408–417

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Locatelli MP, Vizzari G (2007) Awareness in collaborative ubiquitous environments: the multilayered multi-agent situated system approach. ACM Trans Auton Adapt Agents 2(4):13:1–13:21

    Google Scholar 

  18. Lu H (2004) Peer-to-peer support for massively multiplayer games. In: INFOCOM

  19. Morgan G, Lu F, Storey K (2005) Interest management middleware for networked games. In: I3D ’05: proceedings of the 2005 symposium on interactive 3D graphics and games. ACM, New York, pp 57–64

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  20. Morse K et al. (1996) Interest management in large-scale distributed simulations. Information and computer science. University of California, Irvine

    Google Scholar 

  21. Pang J (2007) Scaling peer-to-peer games in low-bandwidth environments. In: Proceedings of the 6th international workshop on peer-to-peer systems IPTPS

  22. Pantel L, Wolf LC (2002) On the suitability of dead reckoning schemes for games. In: NetGames ’02: proceedings of the 1st workshop on network and system support for games. ACM, New York, pp 79–84

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  23. Pittman D, GauthierDickey C (2007) A measurement study of virtual populations in massively multiplayer online games. In: NetGames ’07: proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCOMM workshop on network and system support for games. ACM, New York, pp 25–30

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  24. Preguiça N, Martins JL, Cunha M, Domingos H (2003) Reservations for conflict avoidance in a mobile database system. In: Proceedings of the 1st Usenix international conference on mobile systems, applications and services (Mobisys)

  25. Ratnasamy S, Francis P, Handley M, Karp R, Schenker S (2001) A scalable content-addressable network. In: SIGCOMM ’01: proceedings of the 2001 conference on applications, technologies, architectures, and protocols for computer communications. ACM, New York, pp 161–172

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  26. Rowstron AIT, Druschel P (2001) Pastry: Scalable, decentralized object location, and routing for large-scale peer-to-peer systems. In: Proceedings of the IFIP/ACM international conference on distributed systems platforms, Middleware 2001, Heidelberg, Germany, November 12–16, 2001, pp 329–350

  27. Saito Y, Shapiro M (2005) Optimistic replication. ACM Comput Surv 37(1):42–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Simon HA (1962) The architecture of complexity. Proc Am Philos Soc 106:467–482

    Google Scholar 

  29. Xiang-bin S, Yue W, Qiang L, Ling D, Fang L (2008) An interest management mechanism based on n-tree. In: Ninth ACIS international conference on software engineering, artificial intelligence, networking, and parallel/distributed computing, SNPD ’08, August 2008, pp 917–922

  30. Yu H, Vahdat A (2002) Design and evaluation of a conflit-based continuous consistency model for replicated services. ACM Trans Comput Syst 20(3):239–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Yu H, Vahdat A (2006) The costs and limits of availability for replicated services. ACM Trans Comput Syst 24(1):70–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luís Veiga.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Veiga, L., Negrão, A., Santos, N. et al. Unifying divergence bounding and locality awareness in replicated systems with vector-field consistency. J Internet Serv Appl 1, 95–115 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Consistency management
  • Replicated objects
  • Locality-awareness
  • Multiplayer games