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re: What would you use as a sortable, globally unique, ID? VIEW POST

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re: Thanks for the detailed explanation and I can see how complicating the architecture to allow ordering is not worth it in your case, especially beca...
 

The only real downside is that making them sortable will encourage you to use and depend on that feature. And when clock skew comes into play, then the code that depends on sortability will probably behave unexpectedly. When your code processes the data out of order you could observe strange things like issuing updates for data that hasn't been inserted yet. How: On a cloud provider, they may restart your code on a different node (for failure or maintenance or no reason) whose clock may be skewed from the previous node. They usually do have time sync but it is best effort -- no guarantees about clock accuracy between servers. The margin of error should be small enough that you don't have a problem normally. But if you ever do have the issue it will be hard to diagnose. Also note that if a hardware clock does fail, it is common for it to reset to zero. That would be a little easier to diagnose, but either way recovery (changing the IDs? mapping them to new IDs?) could be painful.

For an event store I use a big integer called Position (not an auto increment) to have total ordering for that node. It guarantees that whatever happens later has a larger Position than whatever happens before. But it doesn't provide a global perspective. You can get a global order by reading from nodes in Position order and then choosing the lowest timestamp among those events. When you do it that way, you know it is a "best effort" ordering, and you may be able to account for some known skewed timestamps. Even if timestamps are off, you are guaranteed that events from the same node are in order. I haven't actually had to do a global order across nodes yet, but there is one on the horizon to merge different event stores.

Forgot to mention. Random UUIDs still used to identify entities on top of the node-wide Position and event timestamps.

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