17.7. Optimizations to the Protocol

There are several variants to the standard two-phase commit protocol that are worth knowing about, because they can have an impact on performance and failure recovery. Table 17.1, “Variants to the Two-Phase Commit Protocol” gives more information about each one.

Table 17.1. Variants to the Two-Phase Commit Protocol

Presumed Abort
If a transaction is going to roll back, the coordinator may record this information locally and tell all enlisted participants. Failure to contact a participant has no effect on the transaction outcome. The coordinator is informing participants only as a courtesy. Once all participants have been contacted, the information about the transaction can be removed. If a subsequent request for the status of the transaction occurs, no information will be available and the requester can assume that the transaction has aborted. This optimization has the benefit that no information about participants need be made persistent until the transaction has progressed to the end of the prepare phase and decided to commit, since any failure prior to this point is assumed to be an abort of the transaction.
If only a single participant is involved in the transaction, the coordinator does not need to drive it through the prepare phase. Thus, the participant is told to commit, and the coordinator does not need to record information about the decision, since the outcome of the transaction is the responsibility of the participant.
When a participant is asked to prepare, it can indicate to the coordinator that no information or data that it controls has been modified during the transaction. Such a participant does not need to be informed about the outcome of the transaction since the fate of the participant has no affect on the transaction. Therefore, a read-only participant can be omitted from the second phase of the commit protocol.


The WS-Atomic Transaction protocol does not support the one-phase commit optimization.