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The Research of Latch(one)

原创 IT综合 作者:shiyihai 时间:2007-10-15 14:27:42 0 删除 编辑

一、Latch and Lock

Latches are the more restrictive mechanism, because they do not allow multiple processes to inspect the protected data structure at the same time—they provide for exclusive access only.
[1] Locks allow for better concurrency, because they may be held in a shared mode when the data structure is simply being inspected.
[1] This is a simplification. The redo copy latches can be shared, but this is hardware dependent.


Another significant difference between locks and latches is request queuing.Requests for locks are queued if necessary and serviced in order, whereas latches do not support request queuing. If a request to get a latch fails because the latch is busy, the process just continues to retry until it succeeds. So latch requests are not necessarily serviced in order.

Because a latch can only be held by one process at a time, and because there is no inherent concept of queuing, the latch data structure itself is very simple—essentially just a single location in memory representing the state of the latch.And because the latch data structure is so simple, the functions to get and release a latch have very little work to do. By contrast, the data structures for locks are much more sophisticated because of their support for queuing and concurrency.So the functions to get, convert, and release locks have correspondingly more work to do.
Of course, it is necessary for Oracle to ensure that only one process at a time can modify the latch and lock data structures themselves. For latches this is easy.Because each latch is just a single location in memory, Oracle is able to use the TEST AND SET, LOAD AND CLEAR, or COMPARE AND SWAP instructions of the underlying hardware's instruction set for its latch get operations. Because these are simple machine instructions that are guaranteed to be atomic, no other locking mechanism is needed. This simplicity makes latch gets very efficient.

Oracle's lock data structures, on the other hand, have several parts, and therefore cannot be modified atomically. For this reason, Oracle actually protects operations on locks with latches. The type of latch used varies depending on the type of lock.For example, the cache buffer locks are indirectly protected by the cache buffers chains latches, and the row cache enqueue locks are protected by the row cache objects latch.
Because latches are efficient, Oracle often uses a latch, rather than a lock and latch combination, to protect data structures that are expected to be accessed only briefly and intermittently.

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