[erlang-questions] Mnesia transaction restarts

Bernard Duggan bduggan@REDACTED
Fri Oct 24 06:08:14 CEST 2014

Hi List,
Can anyone shed some light for me on the exact circumstances under which
mnesia transactions will restart? I ask because on our system (which I'd
describe as "moderately loaded", on the order of maybe a few million
transactions a day) we had a couple of cases recently where a relatively
simple read-then-write transaction hit 60 retries and 82 seconds. This
is a single-node system using a disc_copies table with a couple of extra
indices set on it, but nothing else very special.

Of course, mnesia did no less than what the manual promised: the
transaction eventually completed. However I'd like to understand better
what might lead to so many retries (and, as a result of the increasing
retry backoff, the very long delay). I've read every bit of "mneisa
internals" documentation I can get my hands on, but I'm still a bit
hazy. If I read that stuff correctly, it seems that unless there's a lot
of transactions that started *before* the one in question, and ran for a
very long time themselves, it should actually have been queued up to run
next rather than retrying. It seems very likely that there are other
cases that will cause a retry regardless of how "old" the transaction is
with respect to any it might conflict with (the manual casually mentions
that it may be restarted "thousands" of times), but it's those cases
that I'm not clear on.




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