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This one’s for you, Cliff.

Don’t forget to lean into it.

The Transaction Concept: Virtues and Limitations

by Jim Gray

A transaction is a transformation of state which has the properties of atomicity (all or nothing), durability (effects survive failures) and consistency (a correct transformation). The transaction concept is key to the structuring of data management applications. The concept may have applicability to programming systems in general. This paper restates the transaction concepts and attempts to put several implementation approaches in perspective. It then describes some areas which require further study: (1) the integration of the transaction concept with the notion of abstract data type, (2) some techniques to allow transactions to be composed of sub- transactions, and (3) handling transactions which last for extremely long times (days or months).

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