11.3. Optimistic concurrency control

The only approach that is consistent with high concurrency and high scalability, is optimistic concurrency control with versioning. Version checking uses version numbers, or timestamps, to detect conflicting updates and to prevent lost updates. Hibernate provides three possible approaches to writing application code that uses optimistic concurrency. The use cases we discuss are in the context of long conversations, but version checking also has the benefit of preventing lost updates in single database transactions.

11.3.1. Application version checking

In an implementation without much help from Hibernate, each interaction with the database occurs in a new Session and the developer is responsible for reloading all persistent instances from the database before manipulating them. The application is forced to carry out its own version checking to ensure conversation transaction isolation. This approach is the least efficient in terms of database access. It is the approach most similar to entity EJBs.
// foo is an instance loaded by a previous Session
session = factory.openSession();
Transaction t = session.beginTransaction();

int oldVersion = foo.getVersion();
session.load( foo, foo.getKey() ); // load the current state
if ( oldVersion != foo.getVersion() ) throw new StaleObjectStateException("Message", foo.getId()); 

The version property is mapped using <version>, and Hibernate will automatically increment it during flush if the entity is dirty.
If you are operating in a low-data-concurrency environment, and do not require version checking, you can use this approach and skip the version check. In this case, last commit wins is the default strategy for long conversations. Be aware that this might confuse the users of the application, as they might experience lost updates without error messages or a chance to merge conflicting changes.
Manual version checking is only feasible in trivial circumstances and not practical for most applications. Often not only single instances, but complete graphs of modified objects, have to be checked. Hibernate offers automatic version checking with either an extended Session or detached instances as the design paradigm.