Crash Recovery in a Distributed Data Storage System

Butler W. Lampson and Howard E. Sturgis


Citation: Crash recovery in a distributed data storage system. Unpublished technical report, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, June, 1979, 25 pp.

Links: Abstract, Postscript, Acrobat, Web page, Word.

Email: This paper is at



An algorithm is described which guarantees reliable storage of data in a distributed system, even when different portions of the data base, stored on separate machines, are updated as part of a single transaction. The algorithm is implemented by a hierarchy of rather simple abstractions, and it works properly regardless of crashes of the client or servers. Some care is taken to state precisely the assumptions about the physical components of the system (storage, processors and communication).