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Oracle Transactions -1-

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A transaction is logical piece of work consisting of one or more SQL statements. A transaction is started
whenever data is read or written and they are ended by a COMMIT or ROLLBACK. DDL statements always
perform a commit first this is called an implict commit this is becuase the user did not issue the commit.

Oracle uses transaction locking and multiversion concurrency control using undo records to ensure
serializability in transactions, this stops users any conflict while ensuring database consistency.

Transaction Properties

Database transactions should exhibit attributes described by the ACID properties:

• Atomicity - A transaction either happens completely, or none of it happens

• Consistency - A transaction takes the database from consistent state to the next
• Isolation - The effects of a transaction may not be visible to other transaction until the transaction has
• Durability - Once the transaction is committed, it is permanent all changes are written to the redo log
first then the data files.

Transaction Concurrent Control

Oracle uses locking to ensure data consistency but the locking is done via the least restrictive fashion, with the
goal of maintaining the maximum amount of concurrency.

Concurrency problems can be any of the following

Occurs when a transaction reads data that has been updated by an ongoing transaction
Dirty Reads but has not been committed permanently to the database, it is possible that the
transaction may be rolled back.
Are caused by the appearence of new data in between two database operations in a
Phantom Reads
Is caused by transactions trying to read data while it is being updated by other
Lost Updates
When a transaction finds data that it has read previously has been modified by some
other transaction, you have a non-repeatable-read or fuzzy read. Basically when you
read data at one time and its different when you read it again.

It overcome the above problems you could serialize all the transactions making sure that data consistent,
however this does not scale well. Oracle serializes the transaction via isolation levels and the management of
undo data.

Isolation Levels

The main isolation levels are the following

Oracle Transactions -2-

Then transaction will lock all the tables it is accessing to prevent other transactions
updating data until it either rollbacks or commits
A transaction that reads the data twice from a table at different points in time will find the
Repeatable Read same values each time. Both dirty reads and non-repeatable are avoided with this level of
Read uncommitted Allows a transaction to read another transaction's immediate value before it commits
Guarantees that the row data won't change while you're accessing a particular row in a
Read committed

Oracle uses locks and multiversion concurrency control system, oracle uses row-level locking (it never uses
lock escalation), it will automatically place the lock for you and store the lock information in the data block,
locks are held until the transaction is eithet committed or rolled back. Multiversion concurrency is a timestamp
approach to read the original data, oracle will write the original data to a undo record in the undo tablespace,
queries then have a consistent view of the data which provide read consistency- they only see data from a single
point in time, for more information see Oracle locking.doc

Oracle Locks

There are a number of different locks in Oracle and tables that can obtain information regarding locks.

Oracle uses row-level locks, this is to protect the row while its being changed, the lock
DML Locks will never block a reader of the same row. A table lock is also placed but this ensures
that no DDL is used on the table.
When changing table attributes Oracle places a exclusive lock on the table to prevent
DDL Locks any modifications to the rows. This lock is also used during DML transactions to make
sure the table is not changed when changing or inserting data.
Latches protect the memory structure with the SGA, they control the processes that
access the memory area's.
Are used by oracle to protect access to structures such as data files, tablespaces and
Internal Locks
rollback segments.
Distributed Locks Are specialized locking mechanisms used in distributed systems.
Occurs when a lock is placed on an object by a user to prevent other users acessing the
Blocking Locks
same object.
Occurs when two sessions block each other whle each waits for a resource that the other
DeadLocks session is holding. Oracle always steps in to resolve the issue by killing one of the
sessions, check the alert.log for deadlocks.
Useful Tables
Oracle Transactions -3-

See Oracle Locking.doc for more information.

Undo Data

Undo data provides read consistency, there are two ways to control the undo manual or automatic. see Oracle
undo.doc for more details

Oracle Transaction

Simple Oracle transaction

1. User requests a connection to oracle

2. A new dedicated server process is started for the user
3. User executes a statement to insert data in to a table
4. Oracle checks the users privileges, it first checks the library cache (cache hit) for the information and if
not found retrieve it from disk.
5. Check to see if the SQL statement has been parsed before (library cache) if it has then this is called a
soft parse, otherwise the code has to be compiled a hard parse.
6. Oracle creates a private SQL area in the users session's PGA
7. Oracle checks to see if the data is in the buffer cache, otherwise perform a read from the data file
8. Oracle will then apply row-level locks where needed to prevent others changing the row (select
statements are still allowed on the row)
9. Oracle then writes the change vectors to the redo log buffer
10. Oracle then modifies the row in the data buffer cache
11. The user commits the transaction making it permanent, the row-level locks are released
12. The log writer process immediately writes out the changed data in the redo log buffers to the online redo
log files, in other words the change is now recoverable.
13. Oracle informs the user process that the transaction was completed successfully
14. It may be sometime before the data buffer cache writes out the change to the data files.

Note: if the users transaction was an update then the before update row whould have been written to the undo
buffer cache, this would be used if the user rolls back the change of if another user run's a select on that data
before the new update was committed.