Unit of work in a distributed system

There is a large body of research on ordering events and transactions in large distributed software systems. In the past, these large distributed systems were highly specialized and took special care to deal with these things.

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With the ever increasing size of software systems, we see that many new software systems are distributed. Web-scale-architecture, event-driven, reactive, actor and eventual consistency all software architectural styles and concepts that imply distributed computing. This coupled with the ephemeral nature of runtimes (Docker and other virtualization and containerization) means that it becomes hard to reason about transactions or units of work. How can we use what we learned in the past as guidelines for new software systems? Can we find patterns and solutions that help us implement large scale distributed systems of the future?

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