Read-only entity beans cache data from the database. Application Server supports read-only beans that use both bean-managed persistence (BMP) and container-managed persistence (CMP). Of the two types, CMP read-only beans provide significantly better performance. In the EJB lifecycle, the EJB container calls the ejbLoad() method of a read-only bean once. The container makes multiple copies of the EJB component from that data, and since the beans do not update the database, the container never calls the ejbStore() method. This greatly reduces database traffic for these beans.
If there is a bean that never updates the database, use a read-only bean in its place to improve performance. A read-only bean is appropriate if either:
Database rows represented by the bean do not change.
The application can tolerate using out-of-date values for the bean.
For example, an application might use a read-only bean to represent a list of best-seller books. Although the list might change occasionally in the database (say, from another bean entirely), the change need not be reflected immediately in an application.
The ejbLoad() method of a read-only bean is handled differently for CMP and BMP beans. For CMP beans, the EJB container calls ejbLoad() only once to load the data from the database; subsequent uses of the bean just copy that data. For BMP beans, the EJB container calls ejbLoad() the first time a bean is used in a transaction. Subsequent uses of that bean within the transaction use the same values. The container calls ejbLoad() for a BMP bean that doesn’t run within a transaction every time the bean is used. Therefore, read-only BMP beans still make a number of calls to the database.
To create a read-only bean, add the following to the EJB deployment descriptor sun-ejb-jar.xml:
An important parameter for tuning read-only beans is the refresh period, represented by the deployment descriptor entity refresh-period-in-seconds. For CMP beans, the first access to a bean loads the bean’s state. The first access after the refresh period reloads the data from the database. All subsequent uses of the bean uses the newly refreshed data (until another refresh period elapses). For BMP beans, an ejbLoad() method within an existing transaction uses the cached data unless the refresh period has expired (in which case, the container calls ejbLoad() again).
This parameter enables the EJB component to periodically refresh its “snapshot” of the database values it represents. If the refresh period is less than or equal to 0, the bean is never refreshed from the database (the default behavior if no refresh period is given).