When Do You Need ACID Compliance?

By: Morpheus Data

ACID compliance can be very beneficial in some situations, while others may not require it. Find out where you need ACID compliance and where you don’t.

TL;DR: One decision that must be made when setting up your databases is whether or not ACID compliance will be required. In some instances, it is very important to have it implemented; however, other situations allow for you to be more flexible with your implementation.

What is ACID Compliance?

A quick overview of ACID. Source: LastBuild Quality Assurance

To know when it is best to use ACID compliance, you should have a good understanding of the benefits it brings when used. ACID stands for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability. Each of these is described in more detail below:

Atomicity – Database transactions often have multiple parts of the transaction that need to be completed. Atomicity ensures that a transaction will not be successful unless all parts of it are successful. Since an incomplete transaction will fail, the database is less likely to get corrupted or incomplete data as a result.

Consistency – For a database to have consistency, the data within it must comply with its data validation rules. In an ACID-compliant database, transactions that do not follow those data validation rules are rolled back so that the database is in the state it was prior to the transaction. Again, this makes it less likely for the database to have faulty or corrupted data.

Isolation – When handling multiple transactions at the same time, a database that has isolation can handle each of the transactions without any of them affecting any of the others. For example, suppose two customers are each trying to purchase an item that is in stock (five still available). If one customer wants four of the items and the other wants three, isolation ensures that one transaction is performed ahead of the other, which keeps you from selling more than you have in stock!

Durability – A database with durability ensures that all completed transactions are saved, even if some sort of technology failure occurs.

Example showing how an ACID constraint can be implemented. Source: Wikipedia

When Is ACID Compliance Beneficial?

ACID compliance is essential in some cases. For instance, financial data/transactions or personal data (such as health care information) really need to be ACID compliant for the safety and privacy of the customer. In some cases, there may even be a regulatory authority which requires ACID compliance for particular situations. In any of these cases, it is a good idea to implement ACID compliance for your database.

When is ACID Compliance Not Necessary?

There are cases where a small amount of older or less consistent data can be acceptable. For instance, blog post comments or data saved for an autocomplete feature may not need to be under the scrutiny that other types of data require, so these often do not necessitate ACID compliance.

Get Your Own Database

Whether you require ACID compliance or not, Morpheus Virtual Appliance is a tool that allows you manage heterogeneous databases in a single dashboard. With Morpheus, you have support for SQL, NoSQL, and in-memory databases across public, private, and hybrid clouds. So, visit the Morpheus site for pricing information or to create a free account today!