October 10, 2005

The Amazon.com bookstore is a huge, modern OLTP app. So is it relational?

I don’t know for a fact that the Amazon.com bookstore is the world’s biggest OLTP application — but if it isn’t, it’s close.

And the thing is — that’s never been an entirely relational application. Oh, the ordering part surely is. But the inventory lookup is currently driven by an OODBMS (from Progress). The personalization used to be done in Red Brick (I knew which software replaced it, but I’m forgetting at the moment — it may even be one of the relational warehouse appliance vendors). And of course the full-text search is a custom in-house system.


4 Responses to “The Amazon.com bookstore is a huge, modern OLTP app. So is it relational?”

  1. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Defining and surveying “Memory-centric data management” on December 9th, 2005 12:23 pm

    […] Progress’s ObjectStore: ObjectStore comes from the company Object Design, which merged into Excelon, which was acquired by Progress. It’s really a toolkit for building DBMS and similar systems, which is why it’s at various times been marketed as an OODBMS and an XML DBMS, without a lot of success either way. But there have been a few sterling apps built in ObjectStore even so, including a key part of the Amazon bookstore Despite this limited market success, a significant fraction of Progress’s best engineering talent has moved over to the Real-Time Division to focus on ObjectStore and other memory-centric products. The memory-centric aspect of ObjectStore is this: ObjectStore’s big virtue is that it gets objects from disk to memory and vice-versa very efficiently, then distributes and caches them around a network as needed. This was originally invented for client/server processing, but works fine in a multi-server thin client setup as well. And object processing, of course, relies on a whole lot of pointers. And pointer-chasing is pretty much the worst way to deal with the disk speed barrier, unless you do it in main memory. […]

  2. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Another OLTP success for memory-centric OO on January 11th, 2006 12:28 am

    […] Hotel reservations system, this time. Not as impressive as the Amazon store, but still nice. • • • […]

  3. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Amazon’s version of DBMS2 on July 25th, 2006 4:49 am

    […] Last year, I pointed out that Amazon has a highly diversified DBMS strategy. Now Mike Vizard has a great interview with Werner Vogel, Amazon’s CTO, where he unearths a lot more detail. And it turns out that Amazon has been a hardcore adopter of DBMS2, since long before DBMS2 was named. […]

  4. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services » Blog Archive » Amazon SimpleDB - when less is, supposedly, enough on May 28th, 2008 3:58 pm

    […] posted several times about Amazon as an innovative, super-high-end user — doing transactional object caching with ObjectStore, building an inhouse less-than-DBMS called Dynamo, or just generally adopting a very DBMS2-like […]

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