Zeus: Locality-aware Distributed Transactions

Antonis Katsarakis, Yijun Ma, Zhaowei Tan, Andrew Bainbridge, Matthew Balkwill, Aleksandar Dragojevic, Boris Grot, Bozidar Radunovic, Yongguang Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


State-of-the-art distributed in-memory datastores (FaRM, FaSST, DrTM) provide strongly-consistent distributed transactions with high performance and availability. Transactions in those systems are fully general; they can atomically manipulate any set of objects in the store, regardless of their location. To achieve this, these systems use complex distributed transactional protocols. Meanwhile, many workloads have a high degree of locality. For such workloads, distributed transactions are an overkill as most operations only access objects located on the same server – if sharded appropriately.

In this paper, we show that for these workloads, a single-node transactional protocol combined with dynamic object re-sharding and asynchronously pipelined replication can provide the same level of generality with better performance, simpler protocols, and lower developer effort. We present Zeus, an in-memory distributed datastore that provides general transactions by acquiring all objects involved in the transaction to the same server and executing a single-node transaction on them. Zeus is fault-tolerant and strongly-consistent. At the heart of Zeus is a reliable dynamic object sharding protocol that can move 250K objects per second per server, allowing Zeus to process millions of transactions per second and outperform more traditional distributed transactions on a wide range of workloads that exhibit locality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Sixteenth European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys ’21)
PublisherACM Association for Computing Machinery
Number of pages17
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Feb 2021
Event16th ACM EuroSys Conference on Computer Systems - Virtual Conference, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Apr 202128 Apr 2021


Conference16th ACM EuroSys Conference on Computer Systems
Abbreviated titleEuroSys 2021
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • locality
  • transactions
  • dynamic sharding
  • replication
  • availability
  • strict serializability
  • pipelining


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