Michael Stonebraker

Discussion of the views of database management pioneer Mike Stonebraker. Related subjects include:

January 31, 2010

Flash, other solid-state memory, and disk

If there’s one subject on which the New England Database Summit changed or at least clarified my thinking,* it’s future storage technologies. Here’s what I now think:

*When the first three people to the question microphone include both Mike Stonebraker and Dave DeWitt, your thinking tends to clarify in a hurry.

Related links

Other posts based on my January, 2010 New England Database Summit keynote address

November 25, 2009

New England Database Summit (January 28, 2010)

New England Database Day has now, in its third year, become a “Summit.”  It’s a nice event, providing an opportunity for academics and business folks to mingle.  The organizers are basically the local branch of the Mike Stonebraker research tree, with this year’s programming head being Daniel Abadi. It will be on Thursday, January 28, 2010, once again in the Stata Center at MIT. It would be reasonable to park in the venerable 4/5 Cambridge Center parking lot, especially if you’d like to eat at Legal Seafood afterwards.

So far there are two confirmed speakers — Raghu Ramakrishnan of Yahoo and me.  My talk title will be something like “Database and analytic technology: The state of the union”, with all wordplay intended.

There’s more information at the official New England Database Summit website. There’s also a post with similar information on Daniel Abadi’s DBMS Musings blog.

Edit after the event:

Posts based on my January, 2010 New England Database Summit keynote address

October 18, 2009

Three big myths about MapReduce

Once again, I find myself writing and talking a lot about MapReduce. But I suspect that MapReduce-related conversations would go better if we overcame three fairly common MapReduce myths:

Read more

September 12, 2009

Introduction to the XLDB and SciDB projects

Before I write anything else about the overlapping efforts known as XLDB and SciDB, I probably should explain and disambiguate what they are as best I can. XLDB was organized and still is run by guys who want to solve a scientific problem in eXtremely Large DataBase Management, most especially Jacek Becla of SLAC (the organization previously known as Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). Becla’s original motivation was that he needs a DBMS to manage what will be 55 petabytes of raw image data and 100 petabytes of astronomical data total for LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope). Read more

July 1, 2009


Eric Lai emailed today to ask what I thought about the NoSQL folks, and especially whether I thought their ideas were useful for enterprises in general, as opposed to just Web 2.0 companies. That was the first I heard of NoSQL, which seems to be a community discussing SQL alternatives popular among the cloud/big-web-company set, such as BigTable, Hadoop, Cassandra and so on. My short answers are:

As for the longer form, let me start by noting that there are two main kinds of reason for not liking SQL. Read more

April 14, 2009

There always seems to be a fire drill around MapReduce news

Last August I flew out to see my new clients at Greenplum. They told me they planned to roll out MapReduce in a few weeks, and asked for my help in publicizing it. From their offices I went to dinner with non-clients Aster Data, who told me they’d gotten wind of a Greenplum MapReduce announcement and planned to come out ahead of it. A couple of hours later, Aster signed up as a client. In something of a pickle — but not one of my own making — I knocked heads, and persuaded both vendors to announce MapReduce at the same time, namely the following Monday. Lots of publicity ensued for both vendors, and everybody was reasonably satisfied. Read more

April 14, 2009

Stonebraker, DeWitt, et al. compare MapReduce to DBMS

Along with five other coauthors — the lead author seems to be Andy Pavlo — famous MapReduce non-fans Mike Stonebraker and David DeWitt have posted a SIGMOD 2009 paper called “A Comparison of Approaches to Large-Scale Data Analysis.” The heart of the paper is benchmarks of Hadoop, Vertica, and “DBMS-X” on identical clusters of 100 low-end nodes., across a series of tests including (if I understood correctly):

Read more

January 26, 2009

New England Database Day this Friday January 30

Dan Weinreb, to whose opinions I usually give great weight, spoke very favorably of last year’s New England Database Day conference.  Well, this year’s is taking place on Friday.  It’s at MIT and it’s free, with easy registration.  A list of papers is here

It’s pretty obvious who’s running the show. Sam Madden’s name is given as a contact; elsewhere it’s referred to as being organized by Madden and Mike Stonebraker.  Of the six identified papers, 2-3 look like the subjects or people could be taken straight from Vertica’s Database Column blog.  But that hardly means the event will be one long Vertica commercial.  For example, the other papers include one from Netezza and one on Flash memory data access methods.

I really doubt I’ll make to Cambridge in time for the 9:00 am opening remarks ;), but I’ll try to swing by later on.

September 4, 2008

Mike Stonebraker’s counterarguments to MapReduce’s popularity

In response to recent posting I’ve done about MapReduce, Mike Stonebraker just got on the phone to give me his views. His core claim, more or less, is that anything you can do in MapReduce you could already do in a parallel database that complies with SQL-92 and/or has PostgreSQL underpinnnings. In particular, Mike says: Read more

July 24, 2008

Microsoft is buying DATAllegro

I’ve long argued that:

Microsoft has now validated my claim by agreeing to buy DATAllegro. As you probably know, we’ve been covering DATAllegro extensively, as per the links listed below.

Basic deal highlights include: Read more

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