A Framework for Dynamic Reconfiguration of Distributed Programs
Hofmeister, Christine R.
Purtilo, James M.
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Current techniques for a software engineer to change a computer program are limited to static activities once the application begins executing, there are few reliable ways to reconfigure it. We have developed a general framework for reconfigurating application software dynamically. A sound method for managing changes in a running program allows developers to perform maintenance activities without loss of the overall system's service. The same methods also support some forms of load balancing in a distributed system, and research in software fault tolerance. Our goal has been to create an environment for organizing and effecting software reconfiguration activities dynamically. First we present the overall framework within which reconfiguration is possible, then we describe our formal approach for programmers to capture the state of a process abstractly. Next, we describe our implementation of this method within an environment for experimenting with program reconfiguration. We conclude with a summary of the key research problems that we are continuing to pursue in this area. (Also cross-referenced as UMIACS-TR-93-78)