Towards a Generic Group Communication Service.

N. Carvalho, J. Pereira, and L. Rodrigues.

Proceedings of the Proceedings of the The 8th International Symposium on Distributed Objects and Applications (DOA). Montpellier, France, October, 2006.


View synchronous group communication is a mature technology that greatly eases the development of reliable distributed applications by enforcing precise message delivery semantics, especially in face of faults. It is therefore found at the core of multiple widely deployed and used middleware products. Although the implementation of a group communication system is a complex task, application developers may benefit from the fact that multiple group communication toolkits are currently available and supported.

Unfortunately, each communication toolkit has a different interface, that differs from every other interface in subtle syntactic and semantic aspects. This hinders the design, implementation and maintenance of applications using group communication and forces developers to commit beforehand to a single toolkit, thus imposing a significant hurdle to portability.

In this paper we propose jGCS, a generic group communication service for Java, that specifies an interface as well as minimum semantics that allow application portability. This interface accommodates existing group communication services, enabling implementation independence. Furthermore, it provides support for the latest state-of-art mechanisms that have been proposed to improve the performance of group-based applications. To support our claims, we present and experimentally evaluate implementations of jGCS for several major group communication systems, namely, Appia, Spread/FlushSpread and JGroups, and describe the port of a large middleware product to jGCS.

Also available extended report (pdf) .

Luís Rodrigues