The ability to globally register names is a central concept in the programming of distributed Erlang systems. In this module, the equivalent of the register/2 and whereis/1 BIFs (for local name registration) are implemented, but for a network of Erlang nodes. A registered name is an alias for a process identifier (pid). The global name server monitors globally registered pids. If a process terminates, the name will also be globally unregistered.
The registered names are stored in replica global name tables on every node. There is no central storage point. Thus, the translation of a name to a pid is fast, as it is always done locally. When any action in taken which results in a change to the global name table, all tables on other nodes are automatically updated.
Global locks have lock identities and are set on a specific resource. For instance, the specified resource could be a pid. When a global lock is set, access to the locked resource is denied for all other resources other than the lock requester.