Need a word for...

Subject: Need a word for...
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 09:36:51 -0500

Once again, I'm turning to the Techwr-l "reverse-lookup-dictionary" for a term that I'm pretty sure exists, but which is eluding me at present.

Is there a general, or engineering, term for a condition where something is dropped/stopped and retries/resumes, but it happens so frequently and rapidly that it's annoying (or a drag on resources)?

It's not "jitter", but a word of that sort.

It's not a "race condition" - two signals or events 'racing' each other to determine an outcome... but sorta in the neighborhood.

With that said, here's the situation.

Picture a group of networked devices in a High Availability cluster configuration. They take part in load balancing, and they synchronize constantly to back each other up, in the event that one or more fails in some way. Now imagine they're geographically dispersed. Now imagine that the internet trunk from one country is flaky. It goes in. It goes out. It has its good days. It has its bad days. But the result is that the clustered appliance that lives at the other end of it can sometimes be dropping out and rejoining a _lot_. Possibly to the point - if that network segment gets bad enough - that the unit is being dropped out even faster than it can rejoin (with all the necessary handshaking). So, perhaps the customers request a settable "rejoin delay", such that the member can be told to take a breather (of a specified length) before attempting to rejoin.

What would be a good generic word for the sort of condition where something is being rapidly/frequently disconnected and keeps dutifully coming back for more punishment? I imagine there's a common english word that engineers have co-opted for such a situation - perhaps a two-word phrase at most. It's not quite at the tip of my tongue - or my typing fingers. Bugs me no end.


Kevin McLauchlan
Senior Technical Writer
SafeNet, Inc.

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