Leaderless State-Machine Replication: Specification, Properties, Limits

Authors Tuanir França Rezende, Pierre Sutra

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Tuanir França Rezende
  • Telecom SudParis, Évry, France
Pierre Sutra
  • Telecom SudParis, Évry, France


The authors thank Vitor Enes and Alexey Gotsman for fruitful discussions on Leaderless SMR.

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Tuanir França Rezende and Pierre Sutra. Leaderless State-Machine Replication: Specification, Properties, Limits. In 34th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 179, pp. 24:1-24:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Modern Internet services commonly replicate critical data across several geographical locations using state-machine replication (SMR). Due to their reliance on a leader replica, classical SMR protocols offer limited scalability and availability in this setting. To solve this problem, recent protocols follow instead a leaderless approach, in which each replica is able to make progress using a quorum of its peers. In this paper, we study this new emerging class of SMR protocols and states some of their limits. We first propose a framework that captures the essence of leaderless state-machine replication (Leaderless SMR). Then, we introduce a set of desirable properties for these protocols: (R)eliability, (O)ptimal (L)atency and (L)oad Balancing. We show that protocols matching all of the ROLL properties are subject to a trade-off between performance and reliability. We also establish a lower bound on the message delay to execute a command in protocols optimal for the ROLL properties. This lower bound explains the persistent chaining effect observed in experimental results.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • General and reference → Performance
  • Software and its engineering → Distributed systems organizing principles
  • Theory of computation → Distributed computing models
  • Fault Tolerance
  • State Machine Replication
  • Consensus


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