MySQL and the ACID Properties

By: Vikram Vaswami


MySQL fully satisfies the ACID requirements for a transaction-safe RDBMS, as follows:

  • Atomicity is handled by storing the results of transactional statements (the modified rows) in a memory buffer and writing these results to disk and to the binary log from the buffer only once the transaction is committed. This ensures that the statements in a transaction operate as an indivisible unit and that their effects are seen collectively, or not at all.
  • Consistency is primarily handled by MySQL’s logging mechanisms, which record all changes to the database and provide an audit trail for transaction recovery. In addition to the logging process, MySQL provides locking mechanisms that ensure that all of the tables, rows, and indexes that make up the transaction are locked by the initiating process long enough to either commit the transaction or roll it back.
  • Server-side semaphore variables and locking mechanisms act as traffic managers to help programs manage their own isolation mechanisms. For example, MySQL’s InnoDB engine uses fine-grained row-level locking for this purpose.
  • MySQL implements durability by maintaining a binary transaction log file that tracks changes to the system during the course of a transaction. In the event of a hardware failure or abrupt system shutdown, recovering lost data is a relatively straightforward task by using the last backup in combination with the log when the system restarts. By default, InnoDB tables are 100 percent durable (in other words, all transactions committed to the system before the crash are liable to be rolled back during the recovery process), while MyISAM tables offer partial durability.

 

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