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Comment:Updates to the atomic commit document in order to reference WAL and PSOW and to improve clarity of presentation.
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SHA1: aaf3ea1155e0acc24b20ad0dc1da13b79ce85cc4
User & Date: drh 2012-04-02 15:49:34
Context
2012-04-03
02:04
Documentation on how to configure R*Tree for integer-only operation. check-in: 7404688990 user: drh tags: trunk
2012-04-02
15:49
Updates to the atomic commit document in order to reference WAL and PSOW and to improve clarity of presentation. check-in: aaf3ea1155 user: drh tags: trunk
15:00
Enforce the 80-character line limit on the new documentation source text for FTS4 commands. check-in: f1d54965d0 user: drh tags: trunk
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<p>SQLite has the important property that transactions appear
to be atomic even if the transaction is interrupted by an
operating system crash or power failure.</p>

<p>This article describes the techniques used by SQLite to create the
illusion of atomic commit.</p>

<p>The information in this article applies only when SQLite is not

using a [write-ahead log].  Support for write-ahead logging was added
in SQLite [version 3.7.0].  The write-ahead log is turned off by default.</p>





<tcl>hd_fragment hardware</tcl>
<h2>2.0 Hardware Assumptions</h2>

<p>Throughout this article, we will call the mass storage device "disk"
even though the mass storage device might really be flash memory.</p>

................................................................................
  method still returns a hard-coded value of 512 bytes, since there
  is no standard way of discovering the true sector size on either
  Unix or Windows.  But the method is available for embedded device
  manufactures to tweak according to their own needs.  And we have
  left open the possibility of filling in a more meaningful implementation
  on Unix and Windows in the future.</p>

<p>SQLite does <u>not</u> assume that a sector write is atomic.
However, it does assume that a sector write is linear.  By "linear"
we mean that SQLite assumes that when writing a sector, the hardware begins
at one end of the data and writes byte by byte until it gets to
the other end.  The write might go from beginning to end or from
end to beginning.  If a power failure occurs in the middle of a
sector write it might be that part of the sector was modified
and another part was left unchanged.  The key assumption by SQLite
is that if any part of the sector gets changed, then either the
................................................................................
bit errors caused by cosmic rays, thermal noise, quantum
fluctuations, device driver bugs, or other mechanisms, is the 
responsibility of the underlying hardware and operating system.  
SQLite does not add any redundancy to the database file for
the purpose of detecting corruption or I/O errors.
SQLite assumes that the data it reads is exactly the same data 
that it previously wrote.</p>















<a name="section_3_0"></a>
<h2>3.0 Single File Commit</h2>

<p>We begin with an overview of the steps SQLite takes in order to
perform an atomic commit of a transaction against a single database
file.  The details of file formats used to guard against damage from







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<p>SQLite has the important property that transactions appear
to be atomic even if the transaction is interrupted by an
operating system crash or power failure.</p>

<p>This article describes the techniques used by SQLite to create the
illusion of atomic commit.</p>

<p>The information in this article applies only when SQLite is operating
in "rollback mode", or in other words when SQLite is not 
using a [write-ahead log].  SQLite still supports atomic commit when

write-ahead logging is enabled, but it accomplishes atomic commit by
a different mechanism from the one describe in this article.  See
the [WAL | write-ahead log documentation] for additional information on how
SQLite supports atomic commit in that context.</p>

<tcl>hd_fragment hardware</tcl>
<h2>2.0 Hardware Assumptions</h2>

<p>Throughout this article, we will call the mass storage device "disk"
even though the mass storage device might really be flash memory.</p>

................................................................................
  method still returns a hard-coded value of 512 bytes, since there
  is no standard way of discovering the true sector size on either
  Unix or Windows.  But the method is available for embedded device
  manufactures to tweak according to their own needs.  And we have
  left open the possibility of filling in a more meaningful implementation
  on Unix and Windows in the future.</p>

<p>SQLite has traditionally assumed that a sector write is <u>not</u> atomic.
However, SQLite does always assume that a sector write is linear.  By "linear"
we mean that SQLite assumes that when writing a sector, the hardware begins
at one end of the data and writes byte by byte until it gets to
the other end.  The write might go from beginning to end or from
end to beginning.  If a power failure occurs in the middle of a
sector write it might be that part of the sector was modified
and another part was left unchanged.  The key assumption by SQLite
is that if any part of the sector gets changed, then either the
................................................................................
bit errors caused by cosmic rays, thermal noise, quantum
fluctuations, device driver bugs, or other mechanisms, is the 
responsibility of the underlying hardware and operating system.  
SQLite does not add any redundancy to the database file for
the purpose of detecting corruption or I/O errors.
SQLite assumes that the data it reads is exactly the same data 
that it previously wrote.</p>

<p>By default, SQLite assumes that an operating system call to write
a range of bytes will not damage or alter any bytes outside of that range
even if a power lose or OS crash occurs during that write.  We
call this the "[PSOW | powersafe overwrite]" property.  Prior to version 3.7.9,
SQLite did not assume powersafe overwrite.  But with the standard
sector size increasing from 512 to 4096 bytes on most disk drives, it
has become necessary to assume powersafe overwrite in order to maintain
historical performance levels and so powersafe overwrite is assumed by
default in recent versions of SQLite.  The assumption of powersafe 
overwrite property can be disabled at compile-time or a run-time if
desired.  See the [PSOW | powersafe overwrite documentation] for further
details.


<a name="section_3_0"></a>
<h2>3.0 Single File Commit</h2>

<p>We begin with an overview of the steps SQLite takes in order to
perform an atomic commit of a transaction against a single database
file.  The details of file formats used to guard against damage from