Analysis of memory-centric OLTP DBMS. Related subjects include:
I’ll start with three observations:
- Computer systems can’t be entirely tightly coupled — nothing would ever get developed or tested.
- Computer systems can’t be entirely loosely coupled — nothing would ever get optimized, in performance and functionality alike.
- In an ongoing trend, there is and will be dramatic refactoring as to which connections wind up being loose or tight.
As written, that’s probably pretty obvious. Even so, it’s easy to forget just how pervasive the refactoring is and is likely to be. Let’s survey some examples first, and then speculate about consequences. Read more
I’m doing a webinar Wednesday, June 26, at 1 pm EST/10 am PST called:
Real-Time Analytics in the Real World
The sponsor is MemSQL, one of my numerous clients to have recently adopted some version of a “real-time analytics” positioning. The webinar sign-up form has an abstract that I reviewed and approved … albeit before I started actually outlining the talk.
Our plan is:
- I’ll review the multiple technologies and use cases that various companies call “real-time analytics”. I’m not planning for this part to be at all MemSQL-focused.*
- MemSQL will review some specific use cases they feel their product — memory-centric scale-out RDBMS — has proven it supports.
*MemSQL is debuting pretty high in my rankings of content sponsors who are cool with vendor neutrality. I sent them a draft of my slides mentioning other tech vendors and not them, and they didn’t blink.
In other news, I’ll be in California over the next week. Mainly I’ll be visiting clients — and 2 non-clients and some family — 10:00 am through dinner, but I did set aside time to stop by GigaOm Structure on Wednesday. I have sniffles/cough/other stuff even before I go. So please don’t expect a lot of posts until I’ve returned, rested up a bit, and also prepared my webinar deck.
Hmm. I probably should have broken this out as three posts rather than one after all. Sorry about that.
Discussions of DBMS performance are always odd, for starters because:
- Workloads and use cases vary greatly.
- In particular, benchmarks such as the YCSB or TPC-H aren’t very helpful.
- It’s common for databases or at least working sets to be entirely in RAM — but it’s not always required.
- Consistency and durability models vary. What’s more, in some systems — e.g. MongoDB — there’s considerable flexibility as to which model you use.
- In particular, there’s an increasingly common choice in which data is written synchronously to RAM on 2 or more servers, then asynchronously to disk on each of them. Performance in these cases can be quite different from when all writes need to be committed to disk. Of course, you need sufficient disk I/O to keep up, so SSDs (Solid-State Drives) can come in handy.
- Many workloads are inherently single node (replication aside). Others are not.
MongoDB and 10gen
I caught up with Ron Avnur at 10gen. Technical highlights included: Read more
It’s hard to make data easy to analyze. While everybody seems to realize this — a few marketeers perhaps aside — some remarks might be useful even so.
Many different technologies purport to make data easy, or easier, to an analyze; so many, in fact, that cataloguing them all is forbiddingly hard. Major claims, and some technologies that make them, include:
- “We get data into a form in which it can be analyzed.” This is the story behind, among others:
- Most of the data integration and ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) industries, software vendors and consulting firms alike.
- Many things that purport to be “analytic applications” or data warehouse “quick starts”.
- “Data reduction” use cases in event processing.*
- Text analytics tools.
- “Forget all that transformation foofarah — just load (or write) data into our thing and start analyzing it immediately.” This at various times has been much of the story behind:
- Relational DBMS, according to their inventor E. F. Codd.
- MOLAP (Multidimensional OnLine Analytic Processing), also according to RDBMS inventor E. F. Codd.
- Any kind of analytic DBMS, or general purpose DBMS used for data warehousing.
- Newer kinds of analytic DBMS that are faster than older kinds.
- The “data mart spin-out” feature of certain analytic DBMS.
- In-memory analytic data stores.
- NoSQL DBMS that have a few analytic features.
- TokuDB, similarly.
- Electronic spreadsheets, from VisiCalc to Datameer.
- “Our tools help you with specific kinds of analyses or analytic displays.” This is the story underlying, among others:
- The business intelligence industry.
- The predictive analytics industry.
- Algorithmic trading use cases in complex event processing.*
- Some analytic applications.
*Complex event/stream processing terminology is always problematic.
My thoughts on all this start: Read more
A consensus has evolved that:
- Columnar compression (i.e., value-based compression) compresses better than block-level compression (i.e., compression of bit strings).
- Columnar compression can be done pretty well in row stores.
Still somewhat controversial is the claim that:
- Columnar compression can be done even better in column stores than in row-based systems.
A strong plausibility argument for the latter point is that new in-memory analytic data stores tend to be columnar — think HANA or Platfora; compression is commonly cited as a big reason for the choice. (Another reason is that I/O bandwidth matters even when the I/O is from RAM, and there are further reasons yet.)
One group that made the in-memory columnar choice is the Spark/Shark guys at UC Berkeley’s AMP Lab. So when I talked with them Thursday (more on that another time, but it sounds like cool stuff), I took some time to ask why columnar stores are better at compression. In essence, they gave two reasons — simplicity, and speed of decompression.
In each case, the main supporting argument seemed to be that finding the values in a column is easier when they’re all together in a column store. Read more
|Categories: Columnar database management, Database compression, Databricks, Spark and BDAS, In-memory DBMS, Netezza||10 Comments|
I’ve been known to gripe that covering big companies such as Microsoft is hard. Still, Doug Leland of Microsoft’s SQL Server team checked in for phone calls in August and again today, and I think I got enough to be worth writing about, albeit at a survey level only,
Subjects I’ll mention include:
- Parallel Data Warehouse
- Columnar data management
- In-memory data management (Hekaton)
One topic I can’t yet comment about is MOLAP/ROLAP, which is a pity; if anybody can refute my claim that ROLAP trumps MOLAP, it’s either Microsoft or Oracle.
Microsoft’s slides mentioned Yahoo refining a 6 petabyte Hadoop cluster into a 24 terabyte SQL Server “cube”, which was surprising in light of Yahoo’s history as an Oracle reference.
|Categories: Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Database compression, Hadoop, Hortonworks, In-memory DBMS, MapReduce, Market share and customer counts, Microsoft and SQL*Server, Oracle, Yahoo||10 Comments|
I can think of seven major reasons not to use an analytic RDBMS. One is good; but the other six seem pretty questionable, niche circumstances excepted, especially at this time.
The good reason to not have an analytic RDBMS is that most organizations can run perfectly well on some combination of:
- SaaS (Software as a Service).
- A low-volume static website.
- A network focused on office software.
- A single cheap server, likely running a single instance of a general-purpose RDBMS.
Those enterprises, however, are generally not who I write for or about.
The six bad reasons to not have an analytic RDBMS all take the form “Can’t some other technology do the job better?”, namely:
- A data warehouse that’s just another instance of your OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) RDBMS. If your problem is that big, it’s likely that a specialized analytic RDBMS will be more cost-effective and generally easier to deal with.
- MOLAP (Multi-Dimensional OnLine Analytic Processing). That ship has sailed … and foundered … and been towed to drydock.
- In-memory BI. QlikView, SAP HANA, Oracle Exalytics, and Platfora are just four examples of many. But few enterprises will want to confine their analytics to such data as fits affordably in RAM.
- Non-tabular* approaches to investigative analytics. There are many examples in the Hadoop world — including the recent wave of SQL add-ons to Hadoop — and some in the graph area as well. But those choices will rarely suffice for the whole job, as most enterprises will want better analytic SQL performance for (big) parts of their workloads.
- Tighter integration of analytics and OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing). Workday worklets illustrate that business intelligence/OLTP integration is a really good idea. And it’s an idea that Oracle and SAP can be expected to push heavily, when they finally get their product acts together. But again, that’s hardly all the analytics you’re going to want to do.
- Tighter integration of analytics and other short-request processing. An example would be maintaining a casual game’s leaderboard via a NoSQL write-optimized database. Yet again, that’s hardly all the analytics a typical enterprise will want to do.
|Categories: Business intelligence, Data warehousing, Games and virtual worlds, Hadoop, In-memory DBMS, MOLAP||10 Comments|
These are three closely-related draft entries for the DBMS2 analytic glossary. Please comment with any ideas you have for their improvement!
1. We coined the term memory-centric data management to comprise several kinds of technology that manage data in RAM (Random Access Memory), including:
- In-memory DBMS (DataBase Management Systems).
- Hybrid memory-centric DBMS.
- Other kinds of in-memory data stores, such as:
- Caching layers.
- In-memory data stores that are tightly tied to specific analytic tools, for example the in-memory data management part of QlikView.
- Complex event/stream processing.
- Many examples of memory-centric data management (April, 2012)
2. An in-memory DBMS is a DBMS designed under the assumption that substantially all database operations will be performed in RAM (Random Access Memory). Thus, in-memory DBMS form a subcategory of memory-centric data management systems.
Ways in which in-memory DBMS are commonly different from those that query and update persistent storage include: Read more
|Categories: Analytic glossary, Cache, Complex event processing (CEP), In-memory DBMS, Memory-centric data management||6 Comments|
Since my recent post about Kognitio, things have gotten worse. The company is insistently pushing the marketing message that Kognitio has always been an in-memory product, and at one point went so far as to publicly pretend that I had agreed.
I do not agree. Yes, it’s fair to say — as I did in 2008 — that Kognitio is very RAM-centric, but that’s not at all the same thing. In particular:
- I did due diligence for Warburg Pincus’ original investment in Kognitio in the 1990s (it was then called White Cross). I have no memory of an in-memory positioning, nor of discussing same with anybody.
- I checked my notes from a 2006 briefing, which included Kognitio CTO Roger Gaskell. There was no claim that Kognitio was an in-memory product.
- Indeed, as I also posted in 2008, Kognitio keeps indexes on disk. If you use indexes on disk, you’re not an in-memory product.
The truth is that Kognitio offers a disk-based DBMS that has long been worked on by a small team. I believe that the team really has put considerable effort into how Kognitio uses RAM. But there’s no basis to give Kognitio credit for being “really” in-memory vs. a variety of other analytic RDBMS alternatives. And a row-based product that doesn’t currently offer compression is at a large disadvantage versus, say, columnar products that already do.*
*Columnar systems don’t clobber row-based ones in-memory as extremely as they do in some disk-based use cases. But even in-memory it’s good not to have to move around data that isn’t relevant to your query.
Until Kognitio gets at least somewhat more honest in its marketing, I recommend avoiding Kognitio like the plague. It’s simply not a big enough company to buy from unless you have some level of trust in the management team.
|Categories: Columnar database management, Database compression, In-memory DBMS, Kognitio, Memory-centric data management||1 Comment|
Cray’s strategy these days seems to be:
- Move forward with the classic supercomputer business.
- Diversify into related areas.
At the moment, the main diversifications are:
- Boxes that are like supercomputers, but at a lower price point.
- “(Big) data”.
The last of the three is what Cray subsidiary Yarcdata is all about. Read more
|Categories: Data models and architecture, Health care, In-memory DBMS, Investment research and trading, Market share and customer counts, Parallelization, Petabyte-scale data management, RDF and graphs, Yarcdata and Cray||1 Comment|