Repairing Serializability Bugs in Distributed Database Programs via Automated Schema Refactoring

Kia Rahmani, Kartik Nagar, Benjamin Delaware, and Suresh Jagannathan


Serializability is a well-understood concurrency control mechanism that eases reasoning about highly-concurrent database programs. Unfortunately, enforcing serializability has a high performance cost, especially on geographically distributed database clusters. Consequently, many databases allow programmers to choose when a transaction must be executed under serializability, with the expectation that transactions would only be so marked when necessary to avoid serious concurrency bugs. However, this is a significant burden to impose on developers, requiring them to (a) reason about subtle concurrent interactions among potentially interfering transactions, (b) determine when such interactions would violate desired invariants, and (c) then identify the minimum number of transactions whose executions should be serialized to prevent these violations. To mitigate this burden, this paper presents a sound and fully automated schema refactoring procedure that transforms a program's data layout -- rather than its concurrency control logic -- to eliminate statically identified concurrency bugs, allowing more transactions to be safely executed under weaker and more performant database guarantees. Experimental results over a range of realistic database benchmarks indicate that our approach is highly effective in eliminating concurrency bugs, with safe refactored programs showing an average of 120% higher throughput and 45% lower latency compared to a serialized baseline.