Anatidae: A distributed system of highly available objects

This project is a join effort between CMU and Bellcore. The following people are the current members of the research team:




High availability is a major concern for many distributed applications. A failure in a computer-controlled system could result in problems ranging from minor inconveniences to its users to a major disaster that leads to catastrophic loss of human life. Traditional techniques for adding high availability to these applications typically rely on nonstandard systems built out of custom software and hardware. These systems are expensive and difficult to maintain, and applications written on one system cannot be easily ported to other platforms. We are building a software layer that supports adding fault tolerance and high availability to distributed applications written on standard workstations and operating systems. The proposed software layer allows the creation of highly-available objects that are portable across a variety of heterogeneous hardware platforms. Our techniques are built on the CORBA and DCE standards of distributed computing, ensuring interoperability with other systems that conform to the same standards, and enhancing the commercial viability of our approach. Along with these goals, the proposed system allows legacy applications that were written for custom hardware systems to migrate to standard platforms without major software redesign. The major contributions and innovations that we claim in this work are:

The Name

Anatidae is a latin word for the family of birds under which geese are classified. The selection of the name was inspired by the resilience of the Canadian geese that occupy Bellcore's parking lot. These geese are able to continue operation not withstanding adverse working conditions ranging from fatal car accidents to the subfreezing temperature during the winter and the scorching sun during the summer. The currently contrived acronym should read as "AN Availability Toolkit for Implementing Distributed Applications Everywhere".

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