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Karan Pratap Singh
Karan Pratap Singh

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System Design: PACELC Theorem

The PACELC theorem is an extension of the CAP theorem. The CAP theorem states that in the case of network partitioning (P) in a distributed system, one has to choose between Availability (A) and Consistency (C).

PACELC extends the CAP theorem by introducing latency (L) as an additional attribute of a distributed system. The theorem states that else (E), even when the system is running normally in the absence of partitions, one has to choose between latency (L) and consistency (C).

The PACELC theorem was first described by Daniel J. Abadi.


PACELC theorem was developed to address a key limitation of the CAP theorem as it makes no provision for performance or latency.

For example, according to the CAP theorem, a database can be considered Available if a query returns a response after 30 days. Obviously, such latency would be unacceptable for any real-world application.

This article is part of my open source System Design Course available on Github.

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