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there's also the lock free "cdb+" pattern:

On Thursday 20 January 2005 19:10, Joseph Stewart wrote:
> implementation is the fact that it locks the entire file for updates.
cdb allows 2GB for all sizes (well ... including overall file size),
is lightning fast and does not lock at all, since it's not updateable :)

However, it's a common situation to have a huge amount of keys to
look up, but only very moderate amount of updates during one day.

This can be handled easily and very efficiently by keeping
updates in memory plus streamin them out in cdbmake-format
and rebuilding the cdb during daily backup runs like
(cat change.log; cdbdump <cdb) | cdbmake cdb cdb.tmp

It's also very robust...