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Resource Manager's Role in Transactions

The resource manager registers itself with the local transaction manager and then waits for execution requests from an application program. When a request arrives with a new transaction object, the resource manager enlists in the transaction by invoking the Enlist method. By enlisting, the resource manager ensures that it gets callbacks from the transaction manager when the transaction commits or aborts. The resource manager then performs the transaction's requests.

For example, the transaction might insert, delete, or update records in a relational database. The resource manager retains enough information to enable it to either undo or redo the transaction—for example, by storing multiple versions of the data or keeping a log of the changes.

When the application program commits the transaction, the transaction manager initiates the two-phase commit protocol. The transaction manager first requests each enlisted resource manager to prepare to commit the transaction. The resource manager prepares to commit by storing enough state durably to either commit or abort the transaction. Typically, the old and new data is recorded in stable storage so that the resource manager can recover it even if the system fails. If the resource manager can' t prepare successfully, it informs the transaction manager that it can' t prepare and the transaction manager aborts the transaction. If the resource manager can prepare, it informs the transaction manager that it is prepared and then awaits the transaction manager's decision on whether to commit or abort the transaction.

After it is prepared, a resource manager must wait until it gets a commit or abort request from the transaction manager. The entire prepare and commit protocol typically completes within a fraction of a second. However, a system or communication failure could delay the commit or abort notification for several minutes or even hours. During this period, the resource manager is in-doubt about the outcome of the transaction; it doesn't know whether the transaction committed or aborted. While the resource manager is in-doubt about the transaction, it locks the data modified by the transaction, isolating these changes from any other transactions.

When a resource manager fails, all of its enlisted transactions are aborted, except those that prepared or committed prior to the failure. When the resource manager restarts, it queries the transaction manager about the outcome of the in-doubt transactions in which it enlisted. The transaction manager tells the resource manager the outcome of each in-doubt transaction, and the resource manager commits or aborts these transactions accordingly.

The DTC helps resource managers make transactions atomic and durable when a resource manager fails and then restarts. The resource manager must reconstruct the committed state of the resources it manages, reflecting all of the effects of committed transactions and none of the effects of aborted transactions.

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