I'm setting up a test case to prove a certain deadlock scenario and require some insight on what is going on. I have a heap table, conventiently called HeapTable. This table is updated by 2 transactions simulateously.

Transaction 1:


UPDATE HeapTable
SET FirstName = 'Dylan'
WHERE FirstName = 'Ovidiu';

WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:15';

UPDATE HeapTable
SET FirstName = 'Bob'
WHERE FirstName = 'Thierry';


Transaction 2:


UPDATE HeapTable
SET FirstName = 'Pierre'
WHERE FirstName = 'Michael';


I fire off transaction 1 first, closely followed by transaction 2. As expected transaction 1 will claim some exclusive locks, together with some intent exclusive ones. Transaction 2 will come in and request an Update lock on the same RID:

spid dbid   ObjId       IndId   Type    Resource     Mode   Status
55    5     711673583   0       RID     1:24336:10   X      GRANT
57    5     711673583   0       RID     1:24336:10   U      WAIT

I was kind of surprised to see the second transaction ask for an Update lock on the same RID, since I thought this pointed to a single record & both update statements handle different data. I was somehow expecting a conflict on page level instead.

When the second update of transaction 1 kicks in transaction 2 will be seen as deadlock victim resulting in a rollback of transaction 2 & completion of transaction 1.

Can someone explain me why the second transaction would require an update lock on the same RID although updating a different record?

I know how to fix this (e.g. with an index). I'm not looking for a fix, I'm actually looking for an explanation to why 2 Updates handling different records in a heap would want to lock the same RID. I am using read committed isolation. There are no nonclustered indexes on the table.


1 Answer 1


Without an index on FirstName, SQL Server has to check every row to see if it qualifies for the UPDATE.

It takes an update U lock when reading each row to prevent a common deadlock scenario. It could take a shared S lock, but that would still be blocked by the exclusive X lock held by the first transaction.


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