Solved: server read uncommitted

When dealing with server databases in a multi-user environment, one issue that often raises concerns is the readability and writability of data. Specifically, an area of interest for many developers is the effect of a “read uncommitted” transaction isolation level on the performance and accuracy of server interactions. Without careful considerations and in-depth understanding, “read uncommitted” could lead to several unanticipated scenarios including dirty reads, non-repeatable reads, and phantom reads.

However, these challenges can be effectively mitigated through thoughtful design of code, as well as leveraging insights from various SQL libraries and functions.

Handling Read Uncommitted

Addressing the issues of “read uncommitted” begins from understanding the implications of this transaction level. An uncommitted read scenario refers to when a transaction is allowed to read data from a row that has been modified by another running transaction, but not yet committed.


UPDATE table 
SET column=some_value
WHERE some_column=some_value;

The problem with this situation is that if the running transaction ultimately rolls back (reverses its changes), any transaction that read the uncommitted data will have incorrect or inconsistent data.

To resolve this, a code design consideration is to isolate transactions to ensure that “reads” are only permitted from committed transactions.


SELECT * FROM table;

Aid from Libraries and Functions

Diving into the vast pool of SQL libraries and functions provides several tools that can aid in managing read uncommitted scenarios. One of these is the use of locking hints such as READCOMMITTED and READCOMMITTEDLOCK.


This locking hint ensures that the data read in the transaction is consistent and will not be subjected to changes by other transactions.

Looking beyond the horizon of libraries and functions, however, it is essential to remember that these tools are just that – tools. They serve to enhance and streamline operations, but they are dependent on the fundamental aspects of SQL, particularly understanding how different transaction isolation levels interact and affect each other.

Final Thoughts

Solving the issues that arise with a “read uncommitted” scenario is part art, part science. It requires strict coding approach, an understanding of the problem space, and judicious application of SQL’s functionality.

With these tools and the knowledge of how to use them, developers can effectively manage handling a “read uncommitted” transaction isolation level on the server, thereby ensuring the efficient performance and high accuracy of their applications.

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