Is there a way to update the most recent version of the row by SQL?


I read that Oracle maintains row versions to deal with concurrency. I want to run an update query on a very big real-time database but this update job must alter the most recent version of the row.

Is this possible via PL/SQL or simply SQL?

Edited below **

Let me clear the scenario, the real-life issue that we faced on a very large database. Our client is a well-known cell phone service provider.

Our database has a table that manages records of the current balance left on the customer's cell phone account. Among the other columns of the table, one column stores the amount of recharge done and one other column manages the current active balance left.

We have two independent PL/SQL scripts. One script is automatically fired when the customer recharges his phone and updates his balance.

The second script is about deduction certain charges from the customers account. This is a batch job as it applies to all the customers. This script is scheduled to run at certain intervals of a day. When this script is run, it loads 50,000 records in the memory, updates certain columns and performs bulk update back to the table.

The issue happened is like this:

A customer, whose ID is 101, contacted his local shop to get his phone recharged. He pays the amount. But till the time his phone was about to recharge, the scheduled time of the second script fired the second script. The second script loaded the records of 50,000 customers in the memory. In this in-memory records, one of the record of this customer too.

Till the time the second script's batch update finishes, the first script successfully recharged the customer's account.

Now what happened is that is the actual table, the column: "CurrentAccountBalance" gets updated to 150, but the in-memory records on which the second script was working had the customer's old balance i.e, 100.

The second script had to deduct 10 from the column: "CurrentAccountBalance". When, according to actual working, the customer's "CurrentAccountBalance" should be 140, this issue made his balance 90.

Now how to deal with this issue.

I think what you want is what is anyway happening if you UPDATE.

It is true that Oracle keeps old data for a while, but just to support consistent reads. That is, read operations that see only the state as it was at start of the transaction--even if the data was overwritten in the meantime. It's called Multi Version Concurrency Control and can be controlled by the Transaction Isolation Level.

You can explicitly request the most recent one by selecting `FOR UPDATE; that adds a lock for the record so that nobody else can update it in the meanwhile (until your transaction ends).

However, if you need to write anything (e.g., UPDATE) Oracle works always on the most recent version.