BEGIN

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BEGIN

Starts a transaction block.

Synopsis

BEGIN [WORK | TRANSACTION] [transaction_mode]

where transaction_mode is:

   ISOLATION LEVEL {READ UNCOMMITTED | READ COMMITTED | REPEATABLE READ | SERIALIZABLE}
   READ WRITE | READ ONLY
   [ NOT ] DEFERRABLE

Description

BEGIN initiates a transaction block, that is, all statements after a BEGIN command will be executed in a single transaction until an explicit COMMIT or ROLLBACK is given. By default (without BEGIN), Greenplum Database executes transactions in autocommit mode, that is, each statement is executed in its own transaction and a commit is implicitly performed at the end of the statement (if execution was successful, otherwise a rollback is done).

Statements are executed more quickly in a transaction block, because transaction start/commit requires significant CPU and disk activity. Execution of multiple statements inside a transaction is also useful to ensure consistency when making several related changes: other sessions will be unable to see the intermediate states wherein not all the related updates have been done.

If the isolation level, read/write mode, or deferrable mode is specified, the new transaction has those characteristics, as if SET TRANSACTION was executed.

Parameters

WORK
TRANSACTION
Optional key words. They have no effect.
SERIALIZABLE
READ COMMITTED
READ UNCOMMITTED
The SQL standard defines four transaction isolation levels: READ UNCOMMITTED, READ COMMITTED, REPEATABLE READ, and SERIALIZABLE.
READ UNCOMMITTED allows transactions to see changes made by uncomitted concurrent transactions. This is not possible in Greenplum Database, so READ UNCOMMITTED is treated the same as READ COMMITTED.
READ COMMITTED, the default isolation level in Greenplum Database, guarantees that a statement can only see rows committed before it began. The same statement executed twice in a transaction can produce different results if another concurrent transaction commits after the statement is executed the first time.
The REPEATABLE READ isolation level guarantees that a transaction can only see rows committed before it began. REPEATABLE READ is the strictest transaction isolation level Greenplum Database supports. Applications that use the REPEATABLE READ isolation level must be prepared to retry transactions due to serialization failures.
The SERIALIZABLE transaction isolation level guarantees that executing multiple concurrent transactions produces the same effects as running the same transactions one at a time. If you specify SERIALIZABLE, Greenplum Database falls back to REPEATABLE READ.
Specifying DEFERRABLE has no effect in Greenplum Database, but the syntax is supported for compatibility with PostgreSQL. A transaction can only be deferred if it is READ ONLY and SERIALIZABLE, and Greenplum Database does not support SERIALIAZABLE transactions.

Notes

START TRANSACTION has the same functionality as BEGIN.

Use COMMIT or ROLLBACK to terminate a transaction block.

Issuing BEGIN when already inside a transaction block will provoke a warning message. The state of the transaction is not affected. To nest transactions within a transaction block, use savepoints (see SAVEPOINT).

Examples

To begin a transaction block:

BEGIN;

To begin a transaction block with the repeatable read isolation level:

BEGIN TRANSACTION ISOLATION LEVEL REPEATABLE READ;

Compatibility

BEGIN is a Greenplum Database language extension. It is equivalent to the SQL-standard command START TRANSACTION.

DEFERRABLE transaction_mode is a Greenplum Database language extension.

Incidentally, the BEGIN key word is used for a different purpose in embedded SQL. You are advised to be careful about the transaction semantics when porting database applications.