Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7.0 Reference

Change Sequence Number

Each change to a master replica is identified by a change sequence number, CSN. The CSN is generated by the master server and is not visible to the client application. The CSN contains the timestamp, a sequence number, the replica ID, and a subsequence number. The change log is ordered by the CSN.

Replication is sequential, meaning that entries are replicated in an orderly way. Because replication is orderly, any change generated by a master is labeled by a change sequence number (CSN) that is unique for any change inside a multi-master topology. The CSN is a hexadecimal string that appears in the logs as follows:


The first 8 hexa-digits represent the time when the change was generated in the master. The time is represented in seconds since January 1, 1970.

The next four digits are the sequence number, or the order in the current second in which the change occurred. For example, multiple changes occur in second 41e6ee93. The sequence number tells us the progressive numbering of the change.

The next four digits specify the replica ID of the master that received the change in the first place.

The last four digits are reserved. Most of the time, they are 0000.

CSNs are generated only when local traffic introduces a new change to a replica. So only masters that receive updates generate CSNs. Consumers always refer to masters, because all the updates they receive are through replication.