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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is 2 phase locking with respect to database concurrency control?

2PL or Two – phase locking is the most widely used concurrency control method. This method is used for implementing the serializability theory. The protocol makes use of two types of locks that the transactions apply to data which leads to blocking of the other transactions from accessing the same data item during the execution period of that transaction.
The 2PL protocol works in the following 2 phases:
- The expanding phase: In this phase the locks are only acquired and there is no releasing.
- The shrinking phase: In this phase the locks are only released and not acquired.

Shared locks (S) and exclusive locks (X) are the two types of lock used by this protocol. However many refinements have been produced of this protocol which utilize more than one type of lock. Since 2PL blocks processes using locks, it can lead to deadlocks as a result of the blocked transactions. SS2PL (strong strict two – phase locking) is combined to form the 2PL and is also known as rigorousness. It is mostly used for maintaining concurrency control in the database systems. The protocol has a number of variants, the most common being the strict 2PL, which is a combination of 2PL and strictness. A schedule that obeys the protocol is said to be serializable.
In a typical transaction, when the phase – 1 of transaction ends and there is no explicit information available, it is said to be in a ready state i.e., it can commit now without requiring any more locks. In such cases, we can end the phase-2 immediately or sometimes it might not even be required. In other cases where more than one processes are involved, we determining the end of phase – 1 and begin releasing of the locks with the help of a synchronization point. If this is not done, we violate the serializability and strict 2PL rules. But, determining such a transaction point is very costly and therefore the transaction end is merged with the end of phase – 1 eliminating the need of phase – 2.
Thus 2PL is turned in to SS2PL. In S2PL, the transactions must release their locks (X locks) after they have completed their write operation either by aborting or committing. The read locks (S) on the other hand are released on regular basis in phase 2.  Explicit phase – 1 end support is required for implementation of the general S2PL.
Strong strict 2Pl is also known as rigorous two – phase locking, rigorousness or rigorous scheduling and so on. Both the read and write locks are released after the completion of the transaction by the protocol. A transaction that complies with SS2PL is the one having only phase – 1 during its entire life time and no phase – 2. The class of schedules exhibiting the SS2PL property is called rigorousness. S2PL is a superset of SS2PL classes. This one has been the concurrency control mechanism choice for most of the database designers. The main advantage is that it provides strictness apart from serializability.
These two properties are very much necessary for an efficient recovery of the database as well as in commitment ordering. Global serializability and distributed serializability solutions are used for distributed environments. The down side of 2PL protocol is deadlocks. The data access operations are blocked by the locks resulting in a deadlock.  In this situation none of the blocked transactions can reach completion. Thus resolving the deadlocks effectively is a major issue. It can be resolved by aborting one of the locked transactions, thus eliminating the cycle in the precedence graph. The wait -  for -  graphs are used for detecting deadlocks. 

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