Sunday, June 10, 2012
When did we stop remembering?
Over the past year or so I've been reading articles and papers, or watching recorded presentations, on fault tolerance and distributed systems, produced over the last couple of years. And whilst some of it has been good, a common theme throughout has been the lack of reflection on the large body of work that has been done in this area for the past four decades or more! I've mentioned this issue in the past and had hoped that it was a passing trend. Unfortunately I just finished watching a video from someone earlier this year at the "cutting edge" of this space who described all of the issues with distributed systems, fault tolerance and reliability; not once did he mention Lamport's Time, Clocks and Ordering of Events in a Distributed System (yet he discussed the same issues as if they were "new"), failure suspectors, the work of Gray, Bernstein and others. The list goes on! If this had been a presentation in the 1970's or 80's then it would have been OK. But in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, where most work in the software arena has been digitised and is searchable, there is no excuse!