Introduction to Transaction
Processing Concepts
and Theory


he concept of transaction provides a mechanism
for describing logical units of database processing.
Transaction processing systems are systems with large databases and hundreds of
concurrent users executing database transactions. Examples of such systems include
airline reservations, banking, credit card processing, online retail purchasing, stock
markets, supermarket checkouts, and many other applications. These systems
require high availability and fast response time for hundreds of concurrent users. In
this chapter we present the concepts that are needed in transaction processing systems. We define the concept of a transaction, which is used to represent a logical
unit of database processing that must be completed in its entirety to ensure correctness. A transaction is typically implemented by a computer program, which
includes database commands such as retrievals, insertions, deletions, and updates.
We introduced some of the basic techniques for database programming in Chapters
13 and 14.
In this chapter, we focus on the basic concepts and theory that are needed to ensure
the correct executions of transactions. We discuss the concurrency control problem,
which occurs when multiple transactions submitted by various users interfere with
one another in a way that produces incorrect results. We also discuss the problems
that can occur when transactions fail, and how the database system can recover
from various types of failures.
This chapter is organized as follows. Section 21.1 informally discusses why concurrency control and recovery are necessary in a database system. Section 21.2 defines
the term transaction and discusses additional concepts related to transaction processing in database systems. Section 21.3 presents the important properties of atomicity, consistency preservation, isolation, and durability or permanency—called the



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