The ABCDs of Paxos

Principles of Distributed Computing

We explain how consensus is used to implement replicated state machines, the general mechanism for fault-tolerance. We describe an abstract version of Lamport’s Paxos algorithm for asynchronous consensus. Then we derive the Byzantine, classic, and disk versions of Paxos from the abstract one, show how they are related to each other, and discuss the safety, liveness, and performance of each one.