Accumulo 2.x Documentation  >>  Administration  >>  FATE

Accumulo must implement a number of distributed, multi-step operations to support the client API. Creating a new table is a simple example of an atomic client call which requires multiple steps in the implementation: get a unique table ID, configure default table permissions, populate information in ZooKeeper to record the table’s existence, create directories in HDFS for the table’s data, etc. Implementing these steps in a way that is tolerant to node failure and other concurrent operations is very difficult to achieve. Accumulo includes a Fault-Tolerant Executor (FATE) which is widely used server-side to implement the client API safely and correctly.

Fault-Tolerant Executor (FATE) is the implementation detail which ensures that tables in creation when the Master dies will be successfully created when another Master process is started. This alleviates the need for any external tools to correct some bad state – Accumulo can undo the failure and self-heal without any external intervention.


FATE consists of two primary components: a repeatable, persisted operation (REPO), a storage layer for REPOs and an execution system to run REPOs. Accumulo uses ZooKeeper as the storage layer for FATE and the Accumulo Master acts as the execution system to run REPOs.

The important characteristic of REPOs are that they implemented in a way that is idempotent: every operation must be able to undo or replay a partial execution of itself. Requiring the implementation of the operation to support this functional greatly simplifies the execution of these operations. This property is also what guarantees safety in light of failure conditions.


Sometimes, it is useful to inspect the current FATE operations, both pending and executing. For example, a command that is not completing could be blocked on the execution of another operation. Accumulo provides an Accumulo shell command to interact with fate.

The fate shell command accepts a number of arguments for different functionality: list/print, fail, delete, dump.


Without any additional arguments, this command will print all operations that still exist in the FATE store (ZooKeeper). This will include active, pending, and completed operations (completed operations are lazily removed from the store). Each operation includes a unique “transaction ID”, the state of the operation (e.g. NEW, IN_PROGRESS, FAILED), any locks the transaction actively holds and any locks it is waiting to acquire.

This option can also accept transaction IDs which will restrict the list of transactions shown.


This command can be used to manually fail a FATE transaction and requires a transaction ID as an argument. Failing an operation is not a normal procedure and should only be performed by an administrator who understands the implications of why they are failing the operation.


This command requires a transaction ID and will delete any locks that the transaction holds. Like the fail command, this command should only be used in extreme circumstances by an administrator that understands the implications of the command they are about to invoke. It is not normal to invoke this command.


This command accepts zero more transaction IDs. If given no transaction IDs, it will dump all active transactions. A FATE operations is compromised as a sequence of REPOs. In order to start a FATE transaction, a REPO is pushed onto a per transaction REPO stack. The top of the stack always contains the next REPO the FATE transaction should execute. When a REPO is successful it may return another REPO which is pushed on the stack. The dump command will print all of the REPOs on each transactions stack. The REPOs are serialized to JSON in order to make them human readable.

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