They're the heart and soul of business-critical applications. Enterprise databases carry the freight in an organization, running almost every major enterprise information system. Yet as a successful organization begins to expand applications, implement Web-based commerce or deliver real-time services, growth and success can be too much of a good thing for a database management system. More users mean more contention in the database, leading to database locking that slows business processes - and commerce - to a crawl.

This article will discuss the problem of database locking - why it occurs, how it affects performance, which database functions are most susceptible and new choices that database managers have for minimizing or avoiding it. We'll help you identify locking problems, troubleshoot them and circumvent them with options ranging from adjusting database design, limiting the number of concurrent users and restricting users' activities, to implementing new high-speed databases that can stand alone or function as "helpers" to existing relational database management systems (RDBMSs). With a better understanding of contention, you will be able to choose the best available options.

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