Distributed Database Landscape Standing
March 7, 2019
provider of a distributed OLTP database FaunaDB, noted results of an
exhaustive safety study conducted on its software by independent testing
firm Jepsen. The report conclusively demonstrates that FaunaDB joins the
elite class of databases that offer strictly serializable transactions
in geographically distributed environments. But unlike other databases,
FaunaDB does so without placing limits on the number of keys or regions,
and is robust against cloud chaos such as clock skews or intermittent
node outages -- resilience that is critical for delivering the highest
quality customer experience in today's competitive digital business
The FaunaDB study was conducted by Kyle Kingsbury, the creator and
maintainer of Jepsen, a leading independent proving ground for database
technologies, under a thorough and aggressive test plan to validate
FaunaDB's architecture and functionality and investigate its stability
The Jepsen report details evidence for the safety and reliability of
FaunaDB and concludes that it offers strict serializability across
multi-region transactions, the "gold standard" in data consistency for
from Jepsen, as highlighted in the report, include:
"We expect to observe snapshot isolation at the minimum, and where
desired, we can promote SI or serializable transactions to strict
serializability: the gold standard for concurrent systems."
composable query language, temporal queries, and support for
transactional consistency models ranging from snapshot isolation to
strict serializability are welcome choices, and they work together well.
We're pleased to see these ideas brought together in FaunaDB."
changes are notoriously difficult to get right, especially in consensus
systems, and we appreciate Fauna's efforts on behalf of their users."
competitive digital age, companies need global database architectures
that support classic RDBMS primitives, such as ACID transactions,
relations and constraints, while scaling horizontally and performing
effectively across private, public, hybrid, and serverless clouds.
Otherwise, business applications are vulnerable to severe bugs and
outages that can have a significant impact on customers and weaken a
"The ongoing enterprise adoption of the cloud is driving new
requirements for databases," said James Curtis, Senior Analyst, Data, AI
& Analytics for 451 Research. "Emerging vendors such as Fauna are
driving operational databases to address enterprises with global needs,
featuring data guarantees in distributed cloud environments, to address
a key need of companies engaged in the digital transformation journey."
The primary difference between FaunaDB and other distributed OLTP
databases is its ability to meet these requirements in cloud
environments, combining established technologies into a single system
that delivers on three important business values: productivity, safety
To accomplish this goal, FaunaDB is the world's first implementation of
Calvin, a protocol for fast distributed transactions for partitioned
database systems. Formulated by leading academic Daniel J. Abadi and a
team of researchers at Yale University, Calvin uses a deterministic
ordering guarantee to significantly reduce the normally prohibitive
contention costs associated with distributed ACID transactions.
"When we started building FaunaDB, our goal was to deliver a database
that offered global data consistency without compromising operational
scalability in today's distributed environments – something others in
the industry said was impossible," said Evan Weaver, Founder and CEO of
Fauna. "For that reason, we chose Calvin as the underlying transaction
protocol. The results of this study are a testament to the hard work by
our engineers to achieve a reliable, strongly consistent globally
"We believe FaunaDB's approach is fundamentally sound. We suspect that
Calvin-based systems like FaunaDB could play an important future role in
the distributed database landscape," said Kyle Kingsbury at Jepsen.
Jepsen report conclusively puts FaunaDB at the top of the list of
vendors offering global transactional databases:
FaunaDB is the only distributed database that offers cloud-agnostic
strict serializability in geographically distributed deployments.
this capability without specialized hardware and without clock
synchronization dependences outside normal operational practice.
Other databases in
its class sacrifice consistency, scalability, or both, in their efforts
towards multi-datacenter distribution.