Servers and networks within a cloud data center may become slow, thereby impacting request response time. Jitter, arising from variability from the network and from server processing, can impede or complicate the development of highly available and responsible transactional databases. To provide low tail latency online transactions in an unpredictable environment, Pat Helland presents a thought experiment for a decoupled transaction database system. He describes a hypothetical distributed database that can provide predictable response times while operating in an unpredictable environment by applying quorum operations that prevent conflicting updates and read snapshots. He also discusses “seniority,” an alternate form of order that can remain independent of jitter.