The discussion of concurrency control in Hibernate begins with the granularity of Configuration,SessionFactory, and Session, as well as database transactions and long conversations.

A SessionFactory is an expensive-to-create, threadsafe object, intended to be shared by all application threads. It is created once, usually on application startup, from a Configuration instance.

A Session is an inexpensive, non-threadsafe object that should be used once and then discarded for: a single request, a conversation or a single unit of work. A Session will not obtain a JDBC Connection, or a Datasource, unless it is needed. It will not consume any resources until used.

In order to reduce lock contention in the database, a database transaction has to be as short as possible. Long database transactions will prevent your application from scaling to a highly concurrent load. It is not recommended that you hold a database transaction open during user think time until the unit of work is complete.

What is the scope of a unit of work? Can a single Hibernate Session span several database transactions, or is this a one-to-one relationship of scopes? When should you open and close a Session and how do you demarcate the database transaction boundaries? These questions are addressed in the following sections.