Mysql – How to implement locking across a server farm

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Are there well-known best practices for synchronizing tasks across a server farm? For example if I have a forum based website running on a server farm, and there are two moderators trying to do some action which requires writing to multiple tables in the database, and the requests of those moderators are being handled by different servers in the server farm, how can one implement some locking functionality to ensure that they can't take that action on the same item at the same time?

So far, I'm thinking about using a table in the database to sync, e.g. check the id of the item in the table if doesn't exsit insert it and proceed, otherwise return. Also probably a shared cache could be used for this but I'm not using this at the moment.

Any other way?

By the way, I'm using MySQL as my database back-end.

Best Solution

Your question implies data level concurrency control -- in that case, use the RDBMS's concurrency control mechanisms.

That will not help you if later you wish to control application level actions which do not necessarily map one to one to a data entity (e.g. table record access). The general solution there is a reverse-proxy server that understands application level semantics and serializes accordingly if necessary. (That will negatively impact availability.)

It probably wouldn't hurt to read up on CAP theorem, as well!