Evolving NoSQL Databases Without Downtime. Karla Saur, Tudor Dumitras, and Michael Hicks. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), October 2016.

NoSQL databases like Redis, Cassandra, and MongoDB are increasingly popular because they are flexible, lightweight, and easy to work with. Applications that use these databases will evolve over time, sometimes necessitating (or preferring) a change to the format or organization of the data. The problem we address in this paper is: How can we support the evolution of high-availability applications and their NoSQL data online, without excessive delays or interruptions, even in the presence of backward-incompatible data format changes?

We present KVolve, an extension to the popular Redis NoSQL database, as a solution to this problem. KVolve permits a developer to submit an upgrade specification that defines how to transform existing data to the newest version. This transformation is applied lazily as applications interact with the database, thus avoiding long pause times. We demonstrate that KVolve is expressive enough to support substantial practical updates, including format changes to RedisFS, a Redis-backed file system, while imposing essentially no overhead in general use and minimal pause times during updates.

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@INPROCEEDINGS{saur16kvolve,
  TITLE = {Evolving {NoSQL} Databases Without Downtime},
  BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)},
  AUTHOR = {Karla Saur and Tudor Dumitra\c{s} and Michael Hicks},
  MONTH = OCT,
  YEAR = 2016
}

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