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Dynamo is still in use, but as with all technologies that have to operate at Amazon's scale, the systems evolve rapidly. The storage systems in use now no longer look like the ones from 5 years ago when Dynamo was developed.

The Dynamo SOSP paper had two goals: 1) show how systems are a composition of techniques and how all of these need to work together build a production system 2) given that it was based on a variety of research results it was intended to give feedback to the academic community about the difficulties of moving from research results to production, and what matters in real-life vs production.

The paper was never intended to be a complete blueprint for easy design of follow-up systems.There just isn't enough room in an academic paper to do justice to that. If it was going to have any role in that the best we could hope for was as a collection of points you would have to think hard about and make decisions about when you were going to design your own storage engine.

That doesn't means I agree with the conclusions of the analysis, on the contrary, I think they are seriously flawed as well (as with everything else that is not absolutely perfect :-)). But I can understand that when people look for the dynamo paper to be a blueprint that solves all their storage needs and provides a perfect available service under all failure scenarios (and solves world peace), that they may be left with a few questions afterwards.

I always thought that the real contribution of the paper was that it made you think hard about the trade-offs you are faced with when you have to design high-available, ultra-scalable systems that are cost-effective and provide guaranteed performance. 5 years later we know a lot more but this stuff is still hard, and we still need to balance rigorous principles with production magic to make it work. But you do need to fully understand the principles before you can make the production trade offs.

Caveat: some of these remarks were tongue-in-cheek fun; I leave it to the reader which ones :-)




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