Getting Started

Unit of Work

Component: NServiceBus

Using a transaction scope

If a business transaction is spread across multiple handlers there is always a risk of partial updates since one handler might succeed in updating the data while other won't. To avoid this use a unit of work that wraps all handlers in a TransactionScope and makes sure that there are no partial updates. Use following code to enable a wrapping scope:

var unitOfWork = endpointConfiguration.UnitOfWork();
This requires the selected persistence to support enlisting in transaction scopes.
This might escalate to a distributed transaction if data in different databases are updated.
This API must not be used in combination with transports running in transaction scope mode. Wrapping handlers in a TransactionScope in such a situation throws an exception.

Controlling transaction scope options

The following options for transaction scopes used to wrap all handlers can be configured.

Isolation level

NServiceBus will by default use the ReadCommitted isolation level.

Change the isolation level using

var unitOfWork = endpointConfiguration.UnitOfWork();
    isolationLevel: IsolationLevel.RepeatableRead);

Transaction timeout

NServiceBus will use the default transaction timeout of the machine the endpoint is running on.

Change the transaction timeout using

var unitOfWork = endpointConfiguration.UnitOfWork();
    timeout: TimeSpan.FromSeconds(30));

Or via .config file using a example DefaultSettingsSection.

Implementing custom unit of work

A unit of work allows for shared code, that wraps handlers, to be reused in a way that doesn't pollute the individual handler code. For example, committing NHibernate transactions, or calling SaveChanges on a RavenDB session.


To create a unit of work, implement the IManageUnitsOfWork interface.

public class MyUnitOfWork :
    public Task Begin()
        // Do custom work here
        return Task.CompletedTask;

    public Task End(Exception ex = null)
        // Do custom work here
        return Task.CompletedTask;

The semantics are that Begin() is called when the transport messages enters the pipeline. A transport message can consist of multiple application messages. This allows any setup that is required.

The End() method is called when the processing is complete. If there is an exception, it is passed into the method.

This gives a way to perform different actions depending on the outcome of the message(s).

partial: access-to-context

partial: imanageunitsofwork-outbox

partial: nulltask

Registering custom unit of work

After implementing an IManageUnitsOfWork, it needs to be registered:

    registration: components =>


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