Consensus is an abstraction of a variety of important challenges in dependable distributed systems. Thus a large body of theoretical knowledge is focused on modeling and solving consensus within different system assumptions. However, moving from theory to practice imposes compromises and design decisions that may impact the elegance, trade-offs and correctness of theoretical appealing consensus protocols.
In this paper we present the implementation and detailed analysis, in a real environment with a large number of nodes, of mutable consensus, a theoretical appealing protocol able to offer a wide range of trade-offs (called mutations) between decision latency and message complexity. The analysis sheds light on the fundamental behavior of the mutations, and leads to the identification of problems related to the real environment. Such problems are addressed without ever affecting the correctness of the theoretical proposal.
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