What is a "dirty read"?

Govind Seshadri

Quite often in database processing, we come across the situation wherein one transaction can change a value, and a second transaction can read this value before the original change has been committed or rolled back. This is known as a dirty read scenario because there is always the possibility that the first transaction may rollback the change, resulting in the second transaction having read an invalid value.

While you can easily command a database to disallow dirty reads, this usually degrades the performance of your application due to the increased locking overhead. Disallowing dirty reads also leads to decreased system concurrency.

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