Optimistic Concurrency

I’ve been looking at synchronization-related concepts lately. It’s been really nice to revisit some ideas/concepts from my PhD years (e.g. consistency models for shared data in distributed environments). ‘Optimistic concurrency’ is a term I’ve encountered a lot and I just read the “Optimistic concurrency – a false panacea” post by Yaro Goland (via Mark Baker). Interesting!

I am not going to try to disagree with the arguments since I am just learning this area and I don’t have the much needed real world experience :-) However, I would like to point out that I’ve encountered systems where optimistic concurrency works relatively well (always apply the right tool for the right job!). A couple of examples come in mind: Active Directory and Windows Server Distributed File System. Granted, these are not transactions systems but they do optimistically propagate updates given their multi-owner nature for shared data. Perhaps I am not comparing similar things.

A good paper to read is “Optimistic Replication” by Saito and Shapiro.

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