Bitcoin relies on Proof of Work (hashing) to control the writing to a central repository (the blockchain). It also relies on a set of rules for these updates, and defines what happens if a conflict is found (longest chain wins)

Using that as an example for my question:

  • What are some architectural examples of different distributed lock and/or update mechanisms suitable for P2P networks? (I'm looking for descriptions of software design suitable to this project, not software products)

  • What key logic or rules are fundamental to that decentralized "database"?


Bitcoin, Bittorrent, TOR, and a lot of Amazon's infrastructure (the decentralized bits) all run using something called Distributed Hash Tables.

Honestly, I don't understand it well enough to explain it well enough. Steve Gibson did a pretty good summary of it a while back if you have 30 minutes to listen.


  • 1
    What aspects of Amazon is using this? Which products? (is this internal to Amazon or for public purchase/rental)? – halfbit Jul 26 '13 at 18:37
  • Amazon has it's own proprietary noSQL database built on distrubed hash tables called Dynamo. It lets them always have up to date information, and in means that there is they can take the nodes up and down without it being hugely disruptive. And yes Dynamo is available to the public though it is proprietary. I don't know what other Amazon Technology would use it. I would guess S3 uses it also. – Jpatrick Jul 26 '13 at 19:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.