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Aadil Bashir
Aadil Bashir

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PostgreSQL and its ACID features: A Comprehensive Guide

In data management, particularly in applications where dependability and maintaining data accuracy are of utmost importance, PostgreSQL emerges as a dependable option. PostgreSQL is renowned for its strong backing of ACID properties, which are fundamental in guaranteeing the precision and consistency of your data. In this article, we will explore the essence of ACID properties and the manner in which PostgreSQL puts them into practice.

ACID Features:

ACID, an abbreviation for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability, represents a collection of assurances aimed at upholding the trustworthiness of database transactions

  1. Atomicity:
    Atomicity ensures that a transaction is treated as an indivisible unit, meaning that all of its operations must either succeed entirely or fail completely. There is no partial execution. PostgreSQL accomplishes this by its transaction management system, where any errors within a transaction result in the rollback of all changes made during that transaction.

  2. Consistency:
    Consistency guarantees that a transaction transitions the database from one valid state to another, adhering to integrity constraints. In simpler terms, a transaction should not violate the defined database integrity rules. PostgreSQL enforces data consistency by verifying that data modifications comply with integrity constraints like unique keys, foreign keys, and check constraints.

  3. Isolation:
    Isolation ensures that multiple transactions can operate simultaneously without interfering with each other. Each transaction should remain isolated from others, and its modifications should not become visible to other transactions until it is formally committed. PostgreSQL offers a variety of isolation levels, including options like Read Committed and Serializable, enabling you to manage the balance between data consistency and performance.

  4. Durability:
    Durability ensures that once a transaction is committed, its changes are permanent and resilient to subsequent failures, such as system crashes. PostgreSQL attains durability by recording transaction logs and data changes on disk before confirming a transaction as committed.

Implementation of ACID features in PostgreSQL

  1. Transaction Management: PostgreSQL employs a multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) system to facilitate concurrent transactions without mutual interference. Each transaction operates with a snapshot of the data, ensuring isolation. Upon committing a transaction, only its specific changes are integrated into the database.

  2. Data Constraints: PostgreSQL provides extensive support for various data constraints, encompassing primary keys, foreign keys, unique constraints, and check constraints. These constraints play a pivotal role in preserving data consistency by preventing the insertion or modification of invalid data.

  3. Write-Ahead Logging (WAL): PostgreSQL utilizes the Write-Ahead Logging (WAL) mechanism to ensure durability. It records modifications in a transaction log (WAL) before making changes to the actual data on disk. In the event of a system crash, PostgreSQL can employ the WAL to restore the database to its most recent consistent state.

Isolation Level

PostgreSQL provides a range of isolation levels to cater to different application demands. Your choice of isolation level can be tailored to your specific requirements:

  1. Read Uncommitted: This level allows for dirty reads, making it the least restrictive in terms of isolation.
  2. Read Committed: It offers a higher degree of isolation compared to Read Uncommitted, as it prevents dirty reads. However, it still permits non-repeatable reads and phantom reads.
  3. Repeatable Read: This level ensures that a transaction observes a consistent snapshot of the database, effectively preventing non-repeatable reads.
  4. Serializable: At the highest level of isolation, Serializable eliminates all concurrency anomalies, but it might impact performance, particularly in systems with high levels of concurrency.


PostgreSQL's robust support to ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) principles positions it as a top choice for applications where data precision, dependability, and integrity are of paramount importance. To safeguard your data's accuracy and reliability, it's vital to comprehend how PostgreSQL enforces these principles and select the appropriate isolation level for your specific application.

Throughout your experience with PostgreSQL, keep in mind that while ACID compliance provides a sturdy framework, it's equally important to thoughtfully craft your database schema and queries. This careful design is essential to strike a balance between optimizing performance and upholding these vital guarantees.

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