Another situation when a transaction runs into problems is when it must check something outside of the critical transaction path or its normal activity. For example, when a transaction uses seven different discrete web services to accomplish a complete transaction unit-of-work and after the third web service runs into a situation where something else needs to be checked. The processing then tries to resolve the situation by accessing another service and the new service experiences an error exception. In most database transaction environments the previous three services work would be rolled back and the entire transaction would need to be restarted.
Within good processing designs the extra situation checking would be moved out of the standard flow and services transaction processing. Starting another unit of work is understandable for these double checking situations only because we want to retain the integrity of the first group of services activity already completed. Analysis needs to be completed to determine the number of times the exception processing is needed and how many times it errors out with an exception.
One of the new features within DB2 Version 9.7, Cobra, is called autonomous transactions. This allows a transaction to commit a block of statements independent of an invoking transaction. This invoked autonomous transaction, implies that the work done is committed even if the invoking transaction itself is rolled back. This feature is perfect for this type of exception processing and can be easily implemented within a web service structure.This article first appeared on DaveBeulke.com