In computer science, the CAP theorem states that it is impossible for a distributed computer system to simultaneously provide more than two of the following three guarantees:
- Consistency: Every read receives the most recent write or an error
- Availability: Every request receives a response, without a guarantee that it contains the most recent version of the information
- Partition tolerance: The system continues to operate despite arbitrary partitioning due to network failures
In other words, the CAP theorem states that it is impossible to simultaneously guarantee consistency, availability, and partition tolerance in a distributed system. This means that in the event of a network partition, a distributed system can only provide consistency or availability, but not both.
The CAP theorem has important implications for the design of distributed systems, as it highlights the trade-offs that must be made when building such systems. It also serves as a helpful guide for understanding the limitations of distributed systems and the potential consequences of network partitions.
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