Chapter: Fundamentals of Database Systems - Additional Database Topics: Security and Distribution - Distributed Databases

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Distributed Catalog Management

Efficient catalog management in distributed databases is critical to ensure satisfactory performance related to site autonomy, view management, and data distribution and replication. Catalogs are databases themselves containing metadata about the distributed database system.

Distributed Catalog Management

 

Efficient catalog management in distributed databases is critical to ensure satisfactory performance related to site autonomy, view management, and data distribution and replication. Catalogs are databases themselves containing metadata about the distributed database system.

 

Three popular management schemes for distributed catalogs are centralized catalogs, fully replicated catalogs, and partitioned catalogs. The choice of the scheme depends on the database itself as well as the access patterns of the applications to the underlying data.

 

Centralized Catalogs. In this scheme, the entire catalog is stored in one single site. Owing to its central nature, it is easy to implement. On the other hand, the advantages of reliability, availability, autonomy, and distribution of processing load are adversely impacted. For read operations from noncentral sites, the requested catalog data is locked at the central site and is then sent to the requesting site. On completion of the read operation, an acknowledgement is sent to the central site, which in turn unlocks this data. All update operations must be processed through the central site. This can quickly become a performance bottleneck for write-intensive applications.

 

Fully Replicated Catalogs. In this scheme, identical copies of the complete catalog are present at each site. This scheme facilitates faster reads by allowing them to be answered locally. However, all updates must be broadcast to all sites. Updates are treated as transactions and a centralized two-phase commit scheme is employed to ensure catalog consitency. As with the centralized scheme, write-intensive applications may cause increased network traffic due to the broadcast associated with the writes.

 

Partially Replicated Catalogs. The centralized and fully replicated schemes restrict site autonomy since they must ensure a consistent global view of the catalog. Under the partially replicated scheme, each site maintains complete catalog information on data stored locally at that site. Each site is also permitted to cache entries retrieved from remote sites. However, there are no guarantees that these cached copies will be the most recent and updated. The system tracks catalog entries for sites where the object was created and for sites that contain copies of this object. Any changes to copies are propagated immediately to the original (birth) site. Retrieving updated copies to replace stale data may be delayed until an access to this data occurs. In general, fragments of relations across sites should be uniquely accessible. Also, to ensure data distribution transparency, users should be allowed to create synonyms for remote objects and use these synonyms for subsequent referrals.


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