The talk was presented by Dr Paul Robinson (Red Hat) at the London JBoss User Group event on the 25th of September 2013.
Video available soon
ACID transactions are a useful tool for application developers and can provide very strong guarantees, even in the presence of failures. However, ACID transactions are not always appropriate for every situation.
ACID transactions are achieved by holding locks on resources and require the ability to rollback changes. In some situations, the blocking nature of the protocol can be too limiting to performance, especially if the transaction is distributed. Also, some actions can’t simply be rolled back; for example, sending an email.
A common strategy for applications that can’t use ACID, is to throw out transactions altogether. However, with this approach you are missing out on many of the benefits that transactions can provide. There are alternative transaction models that relax some of the ACID properties, while still retaining many of the strong guarantees essential for building robust enterprise applications. These should be considered before deciding not to use transactions at all.
In this talk, I’ll present one such alternative to ACID transactions: compensation-based transactions. I’ll provide an overview of ACID and it’s limitations and describe some use-cases where ACID is not appropriate. I’ll then present our new API for compensation-based transactions and demonstrate how it can be used to address these problems. Finally, I’ll present our future plans to improve and expand our support for compensation-based transactions.