Database Deadlock Diagnosis for Large-Scale ORM-Based Web Applications

Zhiyuan Dong, Zhaoguo Wang, Chuanwei Yi, Xian Xu, Jinyuan Zhang, Jinyang Li, Haibo Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Today, most database-backed web applications depend on the database to handle deadlocks. At runtime, the database monitors the progress of transaction execution to detect deadlocks and abort affected transactions. However, this common detect-and-recover strategy is costly to performance as aborted transactions waste CPU resources.To avoid deadlock-induced performance degradation, developers aim to reorganize the application code to remove deadlocks. Unfortunately, doing so is difficult for web applications. Not only do their implementations include hundreds of thousands of LoCs, but they also use third-party object-relational mapping (ORM) frameworks which hide database access details. Consequently, it is hard for developers to accurately diagnose deadlocks.We propose WeSEER, a deadlock diagnosis tool for web applications. To overcome the opacity of ORMs, WeSEER performs concolic execution on unit tests to extract a web application's transactions as a sequence of template statements with symbolic inputs as well as path conditions that enable the sequence. WeSEER then analyzes the extracted transactions based on fine-grained lock modeling to identify potential deadlocks and report the code locations that cause them. We implement WeSEER for Java-based (OpenJDK) web applications, and use it to analyze two popular open-source e-commerce applications, Broadleaf and Shopizer. WeSEER has successfully identified 18 potential deadlocks in Broadleaf and Shopizer. Eliminating these identified deadlocks can result in up to 39.5× and 4.5× throughput improvement for Broadleaf and Shopizer, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2023 IEEE 39th International Conference on Data Engineering, ICDE 2023
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9798350322279
StatePublished - 2023
Event39th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering, ICDE 2023 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Apr 3 2023Apr 7 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Data Engineering
ISSN (Print)1084-4627


Conference39th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering, ICDE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • concolic execution
  • database locking
  • deadlock diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems


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