Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu


  • Gerhard WeikumEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_28


The atomicity of actions on a database is a fundamental guarantee that database systems provide to application programs. Whatever state modifications an atomic action may perform are guaranteed to be executed in an all-or-nothing manner: either all state changes caused by the action will be installed in the database or none. This property is important in the potential presence of failures that could interrupt the atomic action. The database system prepares itself for this case by logging state modifications and providing automated recovery as part of the failure handling or system restart. These implementation aspects are transparent to the application program and are thus a major relief for the programs’ failure handling and boost the application development productivity.

Historical Background

Since the early 1970s (or even earlier), transaction processing systems for airline reservations and debit/credit banking had means for recovery and concurrency control that were...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department 5: Databases and Information SystemsMax-Planck-Institut für InformatikSaarbrückenGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gottfried Vossen
    • 1
  1. 1.Dep. of Inf. SystemsWestf. Wilhelms-UniveristätMünsterGermany