What is the difference between locks, latches, enqueues and semaphores? (for DBA
ORACLE Interview Questions and Answers (Part 2)
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314. What is the difference between locks, latches, enqueues and semaphores? (for DBA
A latch is an internal Oracle mechanism used to protect data structures in the SGA from simultaneous access. Atomic hardware instructions like TEST-AND-SET is used to implement latches. Latches are more restrictive than locks in that they are always exclusive. Latches are never queued, but will spin or sleep until they obtain a resource, or time out.
Enqueues and locks are different names for the same thing. Both support queuing and concurrency. They are queued and serviced in a first-in-first-out (FIFO) order.
Semaphores are an operating system facility used to control waiting. Semaphores are controlled by the following Unix parameters: semmni, semmns and semmsl. Typical settings are:
semmns = sum of the "processes" parameter for each instance
(see init<instance>.ora for each instance)
semmni = number of instances running simultaneously;
semmsl = semmns
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