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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Unanswered: Enable XA transactions


    I am not a DBA, and I barely understand databases.

    I work for a hospital and am the compliance officer for a clinical laboratory.

    We have a vendor supported data management tool that we use. Prior to using this system we did extensive validation. Once a validation is complete we generally do not make any system changes until we upgrade the system and do another extensive validation.

    We are having issues with our latest upgrade that were not detected during validation. It seems that the application is getting disconnected from the database and timing out on the user.

    The vendor contacted Microsoft for assistance and Microsoft recommended that we “Enable XA transactions”. It is the software vendors opinion that validation is not required.

    Remembering I do not understand what this means, could you please let me know what could go wrong if we enable this option?

    Thank you kindly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    In front of the computer
    Provided Answers: 54
    XA Transactions are an older way to ensure that only complete "units of work" are done... In other words either every part of what you are doing is completed or nothing is completed. This is really important for things like banking or medical records to ensure that some work doesn't get "half done" and leave things in a confusing state.

    XA transactions were very popular many years ago on a system called X/Open which was a fore-runner of today's Linux systems. XA is still used by some technologies like Java, but XA has definitely become a "legacy technology" that hasn't seen much new development effort for at least ten years (and probably much longer).

    If your system doesn't use Java or access legacy Linux or Unix systems, the odds that it actually uses XA at all are very small. Even if it does use those technologies, XA is a pretty straightforward protocol and it would be very difficult for it to cause a problem unless there was some exceptionally sloppy code.

    You know your vendor and their track record, but I wouldn't expect much if any problem that would require extensive testing or remediation if you enabled XA transactions.

    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Pat, thank you very much. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to craft your response that even I was able to understand.

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