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Eventual Consistency (Software Design)

An Eventual Consistency is a consistency model that guarantees the consistent state of data.

If all involved systems agree on the equal state of the data, that is, no updates are occurring, the data is considered to be eventual consistent.


In the following example, Client A accesses System A for a write operation at t0t_0 (informal: an unspecific point tnt_n in time, where n,mN0n,m \in N_0 and n<mtn before tmn < m \Lrarr t_n \space before \space t_m).

Figure 1 A client updates a node, but the data is not immediately consistent across all systems, but eventual after a given time
  • At t1t_1, Client B queries the data, which returns the data from dDd \in D from the set that was updated before t0t_0.
  • At t2t_2, the data gets updated in DD.
  • At t>=3t >= 3, the system has reached eventual consistency.

Client B will now receive the data that is considered to be eventual consistent.

Likewise, Client A will not receive the updated data at tn:1<n<3t_n:1 < n < 3 (that is, requesting the update of the data, then immediately querying the update will respond with the old data from t0t_0.)


Eventual Consistency is not reserved to systems where the boundaries are denoted through hardware-infrastructure. In a monolithic system, problems arise through caching: The monolithic system is considered to be Eventual Consistent when both the original data and it's cache are reconciled to the same state, i.e. if both contain the same data.

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