Saturday, March 19, 2011

Consistency

C is for Crayon, Cup and Consistency, i.e., transactions produce consistent results and preserve application specific invariants.

A transactional application should maintain the consistency of the resources (e.g., databases, file-systems, etc.) that it uses. In essence, transactional applications should move from one consistent state to another. However, unlike the other transactional properties (A, I and D) this is something that the transaction system cannot achieve by itself since it does not possess any semantic information about the resources it manipulates: it would be impossible for a transaction processing system to assert that the resources are moving to (or from) consistent states. All a transaction system can ensure is that any state changes that do occur are performed in a manner that is guaranteed despite failures. It is the application programmers’ responsibility to ensure consistency (in whatever way makes sense for the resources concerned.)
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