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From Michael McCandless <>
Subject Re: Deprecation of flush in IndexWriter
Date Sat, 12 Apr 2008 08:33:06 GMT

That's a good point.

Lucene is doing a 2-phase commit, under the hood in the commit()
method, but doesn't expose the two separate phases (prepare & commit)
through the API.

Unfortunately, while the flush() call does some of the work of the
prepare phase, it's not doing enough.  For example, it does not close
the "doc stores", which involve alot of IO if a compound file needs to
be built.  It also does not fsync() all referenced files, which could
fail.  Finally, it does not initiate writing the next segments_N file,
which can also fail if you run out of disk space right then.  These
are really things that the "prepare" phase should be doing, because
they add risk of an IOException during commit().

Note that even lacking explicit exposure of the two separate phases of
the commit in Lucene's API, you can still involve Lucene in a
transaction with other resources (eg a database) that do expose the
two phases, by calling "IndexWriter.commit()" after all other
resources have successfully prepared, and then rolling back all other
resources on hitting an exception from Lucene, else committing them.

So I don't think keeping flush(), and advertising it as the equivalent
of a prepare phase of a 2-phase commit protocol, is enough here -- it
would be "false advertising".

But I agree it would be good for Lucene to explicitly expose the
"prepare" phase.  Maybe we could add a "prepareCommit()" method, that
does the flush, and closes docs stores, and syncs, and initiates but
does not complete the writing of the next segments_N file.  Having
called prepareCommit() you would not be allowed to call anything else
in IndexWriter until commit() or abort() is called.  Also, if a
concurrent merges completes it would also be blocked from committing
the changes to the index until commit().  We should probably also
deprecate abort() and rename it to rollback().  I'll open an issue for


Shay Banon wrote:
> Hi,
>    I was just looking a bit at the trunk. First, let me say that the
> progress you guys make is amazing!. I would still like to ask a quick
> question regarding deprecation of flush in IndexWriter. I think  
> that there
> are cases where flush is needed. For example, in trying to create a  
> two
> phase (or as close as possible to one) commit. The flush can be  
> used for the
> fist phase and the close/commit can be used for the second one.  
> Does it make
> sense?
> Cheers,
> Shay
> -- 
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