Optimistic Concurrency

Optimistic concurrency control is a Solr NoSQL feature that allows a conditional update based on document _version_. Using optimistic concurrency normally involves the following READ-MODIFY-WRITE process:

  1. client reads a document
  2. client changes the document locally
  3. client resubmits the changed document to solr
  4. go back to step 1 if step 3 fails with HTTP error code 409 (version conflict)

For simple field updates or modifications, see Atomic Updates


Solr automatically adds a _version_ field to all documents. A client can specify a value for _version_ on any update to invoke optimistic concurrency control.

The following table summarizes the semantics of specifying _version_ for an update:

_version_ semantics
> 1 Document version must exactly match
1 Document must exist
< 0 Document must not exist
0 Don’t care (normal overwrite if exists)

Specifying version on an update

For an add, it’s easiest to simply specify _version_ by adding it as a field in the document along with the other fields (see the Example below).

It’s also possible to specify _version_ as a request parameter in the URL:

$ curl http://localhost:8983/solr/update?_version_=7 -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d '[{"id":"smalldoc"}]'

Delete operations with optimistic concurrency currently need to use the URL method to specify _version_.

Optimistic Concurrency Example

First, let’s add a document representing a book:

$ curl http://localhost:8983/solr/update -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d '
 {"id":"book1", "title":"Neuromancer","author":"William Gibson",
  "copiesIn_i":7, "copiesOut_i":3

Now let’s pretend that someone is checking out a copy and we want to decrement copiesIn and increment copiesOut. First we retrieve the latest version of the document with real-time get:

$ curl http://localhost:8983/solr/get?id=book1
    "author":"William Gibson",

Now we will modify the document fields and send it back to Solr (making sure we did *not* modify the _version field):

curl http://localhost:8983/solr/update -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d '
[  {
    "author":"William Gibson",

The presence of the _version_ field instructs Solr to accept the update only if the document version matches exactly. After the update has successfully completed, the document will have a new _version that is guaranteed to be higher than the last.

curl http://localhost:8983/solr/get?id=book1
    "author":"William Gibson",

Of course this was just an example, and we could have used Solr’s Atomic Update feature to do this much easier.

Example Failure

If the client specifies a _version_ that does not match what currently exists in Solr, an HTTP error with code 409 (Conflict) will be returned.

$ curl -i http://localhost:8983/solr/update -H 'Content-type:application/json' -d '
[{"id":"book1", "author":"Mr Bean", "_version_":12345}]'
HTTP/1.1 409 Conflict
Content-Type: text/plain;charset=UTF-8
Transfer-Encoding: chunked

    "msg":"version conflict for book1 expected=12345 actual=1408814192853516288",

Note that we used the curl option -i to show the response HTTP headers to verify that this generated an HTTP-level error in addition to the Solr-level error in the body of the response.