Monday, September 28, 2009

On Optimistic Methods for Concurrency Control

In this paper, the authors present two methods of non-locking concurrency controls for DBMS: serial and parallel validation. These methods are “optimistic” because they rely on the hope that conflicts will not occur. The authors first make it clear that locking approaches to concurrency control have numerous disadvantages (locking overhead, deadlock). The argument for “optimistic” concurrency control is as follows: reads are completely unrestricted since they can never cause a loss of integrity, and writes are restricted. A transaction consists of two or three phases: a read phase, a validation phase, and a possible write phase. These methods may be superior to locking methods for systems where transaction conflict is highly unlikely, such as query-dominant systems and very large tree indexes. Such an optimistic system would be inefficient where the transaction conflict is not rare. The paper suggests that a system should vary the amount of locking versus optimistic approaches as the likelihood of transaction conflict in the system varies. However, the authors do not delve into such an analysis.

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