Does Elastic consider Elasticsearch a (mostly) pure implementation of the SEDA software architecture for Internet servers?


For reference, the original SEDA paper is here.

My question for any Elastic team members reading (who are deeply intimate with Elasticsearch architecture/internals) is whether Elastic (core developers/company) thinks of Elasticsearch as implementing SEDA? If so, how much does it differ from the core tenets of SEDA? For example, are the thread pools exposed via /_cat/thread_pool the same internal queues defined in the SEDA architecture, yes or no? Are there other changes or liberties taken with SEDA due to real world experience? Or does Elasticsearch implement some other model entirely?


(David Turner) #2

Tricky question to answer. We do not, for instance, refer to the SEDA literature on a daily basis basis, but there are certainly some similarities. The way Elasticsearch use thread pools is indeed one such similarity, although SEDA's thread pools seem to be per-stage and Elasticsearch's are much coarser. It's hard to say whether these similarities are directly because of this research or whether it's a case of convergent evolution.


@DavidTurner, got it. 10 years on, I completely understand that you wouldn't refer to the literature on a daily basis (or even regularly) but that's also because those decisions have been baked into Elasticsearch over the past decade. They are the fundamental underpinning of how it works at this point, so there's no need to think about the origin story anymore.

Maybe a better question is whether SEDA influenced Shay's initial design decisions around the architecture of Elasticsearch's distributed systems layer? What does Shay himself say or think on the topic?

(David Turner) #4

I will see if I can find out.


Any word yet?

(David Turner) #6

Not yet; I am hoping for an answer in one of his AMA sessions but there hasn't been one in the week-and-a-bit since you asked your original question.


What are the chances of getting an answer, @DavidTurner?

(David Turner) #8

Hey, I bumped into Shay and asked him about this, and the answer wasn't clear-cut. Elasticsearch was definitely never intended to be a pure implementation of a SEDA architecture, but the ideas about performance and scalability, particularly in terms of things like avoiding an expensive thread per request, were fairly pervasive in the industry by the time Elasticsearch was born.

So yes, I think it's fair to say that SEDA had some influence (albeit possibly indirectly) on Elasticsearch's overall shape.