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This directory contains point-in-time snapshots of what we thought about a certain topic at a certain time. While many of these documents build on each other, it should be possible to read these in isolation and to approach them in any order. We suggest reviewing this chronological list first, then jumping around based on your interests.

  • ProtoBeam v1 (November 2017): This document introduces Beam's basic architecture, which is based around a central log. It describes the expected benefits and challenges of a central log, as well as Beam's approach to distributed transactions.

  • ProtoBeam v2 (March 2018): This document summarized the state of the system back then as a property graph store. It also includes some discussion of storing data in RocksDB compared to other embedded key-value stores.

  • Booting Beam Views (March 2018): Part of the ProtoBeam v2 series, this document describes how view servers in Beam start up once the oldest part of the log has been discarded.

  • Using Apache Kafka in Beam (March 2018): Part of the ProtoBeam v2 series, this document describes challenges with using Kafka as Beam's log, and why it might not be a great fit.

  • ProtoBeam v3 (August 2018): This document summarized the state of the system back then, after adapting it from a property graph store to a knowledge graph store. It describes the overall system components (which are still accurate) and the query language at that time (which has evolved significantly since; see the Query doc below). It includes details on the query processor, including the parser, cost-based query planner, parallel query execution engine, and RPC fanout mechanism.

  • Control Plane Requirements (September 2018): This document explores the various scenarios that a control plane (or manual operator) will need to handle for a cross-datacenter production Beam deployment.

  • Building Feature-Rich Data Stores Using a Central Log (January 2019): This short document argues that a central log forms the basis of an architecture that is well-suited for systems like Beam.

  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery (March 2019): This short document explains how fault-tolerance is built into Beam's architecture.

  • Update RFC (March 2019): This long document proposes a new mechanism for inserting, deleting, and updating facts in Beam, based on the SPARQL Update specification. Only part of this RFC has been implemented at this time.

  • Query (March 2019): This document describes Beam's current query language, which is a cross between SPARQL and the version described in the ProtoBeam v3 doc.

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