Group Membership Service

The Group Membership Service (GMS) uses self-defined system membership. Processes can join or leave the distributed system at any time. The GMS communicates this information to every other member in the system, with certain consistency guarantees. Each member in the group participates in membership decisions, which ensures that either all members see a new member or no members see it.

The membership coordinator, a key component of the GMS, handles "join" and "leave" requests, and also handles members that are suspected of having left the system. The system automatically elects the oldest member of the distributed system to act as the coordinator, and it elects a new one if the member fails or is unreachable. The coordinator's basic purpose is to relay the current membership view to each member of the distributed system and to ensure the consistency of the view at all times.

Because the SQLFire distributed system is dynamic, you can add or remove members in a very short time period. This makes it easy to reconfigure the system to handle added demand (load).The GMS permits the distributed system to progress under conditions in which a statically-defined membership system could not. A static model defines members by host and identity, which makes it difficult to add or remove members in an active distributed system. The system would have to shut down partially or completely to expand or contract the number of members that participate in the system.