Monday, September 28, 2009

Granularity of Locks and Degrees of Consistency in a Shared Data Base

This paper discusses the granularity of locks in a data base management system: small granularity means high concurrency but high overhead, large granularity means low overhead but low concurrency. A fine lockable system is preferable for a simple transaction which accesses few records and a coarse lockable system is preferable for a complex transaction which accesses many records. Therefore, it is favorable to have lockable units of different granularities coexisting in the same system. This can be accomplished with the use of hierarchical locks, which allow one to lock a node and all of its descendants. Various access modes can be used to ensure that two lock requests by two different transactions are compatible (can be granted concurrently). These ideas can be generalized to work for directed acyclic graphs (DAG), which are really just more general than trees. We also have to remember that indices and files are created and destroyed continually and so the lock graphs are dynamic. While there are issues that must be considered to ensure correctness of this added complication to a DBMS, it is worthwhile due to the need for the performance gain that will result.

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