The 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems is out. “Operational” seems to be Gartner’s term for what I call short-request, in each case the point being that OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) is a dubious term when systems omit strict consistency, and when even strictly consistent systems may lack full transactional semantics. As is usually the case with Gartner Magic Quadrants:
- I admire the raw research.
- The opinions contained are generally reasonable (especially since Merv Adrian joined the Gartner team).
- Some of the details are questionable.
- There’s generally an excessive focus on Gartner’s perception of vendors’ business skills, and on vendors’ willingness to parrot all the buzzphrases Gartner wants to hear.
- The trends Gartner highlights are similar to those I see, although our emphasis may be different, and they may leave some important ones out. (Big omission — support for lightweight analytics integrated into operational applications, one of the more genuine forms of real-time analytics.)
Anyhow: Read more
I talked Friday with Deep Information Sciences, makers of DeepDB. Much like TokuDB — albeit with different technical strategies — DeepDB is a single-server DBMS in the form of a MySQL engine, whose technology is concentrated around writing indexes quickly. That said:
- DeepDB’s indexes can help you with analytic queries; hence, DeepDB is marketed as supporting OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) and analytics in the same system.
- DeepDB is marketed as “designed for big data and the cloud”, with reference to “Volume, Velocity, and Variety”. What I could discern in support of that is mainly:
- DeepDB has been tested at up to 3 terabytes at customer sites and up to 1 billion rows internally.
- Like most other NewSQL and NoSQL DBMS, DeepDB is append-only, and hence could be said to “stream” data to disk.
- DeepDB’s indexes could at some point in the future be made to work well with non-tabular data.*
- The Deep guys have plans and designs for scale-out — transparent sharding and so on.
*For reasons that do not seem closely related to product reality, DeepDB is marketed as if it supports “unstructured” data today.
Other NewSQL DBMS seem “designed for big data and the cloud” to at least the same extent DeepDB is. However, if we’re interpreting “big data” to include multi-structured data support — well, only half or so of the NewSQL products and companies I know of share Deep’s interest in branching out. In particular:
- Akiban definitely does. (Note: Stay tuned for some next-steps company news about Akiban.)
- Tokutek has planted a small stake there too.
- Key-value-store-backed NuoDB and GenieDB probably leans that way. (And SanDisk evidently shut down Schooner’s RDBMS while keeping its key-value store.)
- VoltDB, Clustrix, ScaleDB and MemSQL seem more strictly tabular, except insofar as text search is a requirement for everybody. (Edit: Oops; I forgot about Clustrix’s approach to JSON support.)
Edit: MySQL has some sort of an optional NoSQL interface, and hence so presumably do MySQL-compatible TokuDB, GenieDB, Clustrix, and MemSQL.
Also, some of those products do not today have the transparent scale-out that Deep plans to offer in the future.
I plan to write about several NewSQL vendors soon, but first here’s an overview post. Like “NoSQL”, the term “NewSQL” has an identifiable, recent coiner — Matt Aslett in 2011 — yet a somewhat fluid meaning. Wikipedia suggests that NewSQL comprises three things:
- OLTP- (OnLine Transaction Processing)/short-request-oriented SQL DBMS that are newer than MySQL.
- Innovative MySQL engines.
- Transparent sharding systems that can be used with, for example, MySQL.
I think that’s a pretty good working definition, and will likely remain one unless or until:
- SQL-oriented and NoSQL-oriented systems blur indistinguishably.
- MySQL (or PostgreSQL) laps the field with innovative features.
To date, NewSQL adoption has been limited.
- NewSQL vendors I’ve written about in the past include Akiban, Tokutek, CodeFutures (dbShards), Clustrix, Schooner (Membrain), VoltDB, ScaleBase, and ScaleDB, with GenieDB and NuoDB coming soon.
- But I’m dubious whether, even taken together, all those vendors have as many customers or production references as any of 10gen, Couchbase, DataStax, or Cloudant.*
That said, the problem may lie more on the supply side than in demand. Developing a competitive SQL DBMS turns out to be harder than developing something in the NoSQL state of the art.
Yesterday I wrote:
Clustrix has one cool idea I haven’t heard from anybody else, which I’m calling index distribution. The idea is that each index can be distributed differently across the cluster … i.e. on different distribution keys. Clustrix thinks that paying special attention to index distribution and movement is helpful to the performance of distributed joins.
While that’s true, I thought I’d heard something similar from Vertica; so I checked, and indeed I had. Vertica famously lets you store columns in different sort orders, in both reasonable senses:
- Different columns in a table can be sorted in different ways.
- A single column, which is stored multiple times for usual reasons of replication safety, can be sorted differently in its different copies.
It turns out those columns can also be distributed on different keys as well.
- Vertica projections explained at length (September, 2011)
It feels like time to write about Clustrix, which I last covered in detail in May, 2010, and which is releasing Clustrix 4.0 today. Clustrix and Clustrix 4.0 basics include:
- Clustrix makes a short-request processing appliance.
- As you might guess from the name, Clustrix is clustered — peer-to-peer, with no head node.
- The Clustrix appliance uses flash/solid-state storage.
- Traditionally, Clustrix has run a MySQL-compatible DBMS.
- Clustrix 4.0 introduces JSON support. More on that below.
- Clustrix 4.0 introduces a bunch of administrative features, and parallel backup.
- Also in today’s announcement is a Rackspace partnership to offer Clustrix remotely, at monthly pricing.
- Clustrix has been shipping product for about 4 years.
- Clustrix has 20 customers in production, running >125 Clustrix nodes total.
- Clustrix has 60 people.
- List price for a (smallest size) Clustrix system is $150K for 3 nodes. Highest-end maintenance costs 15%.
- There’s also a $100K version meant for high availability/disaster recovery. Over half of Clustrix’s customers use off-site disaster recovery.
- Clustrix is raising a C round. Part of it has already been raised from insiders, as a kind of bridge.
The biggest Clustrix installation seems to be 20 nodes or so. Others seem to have 10+. I presume those disaster recovery customers have 6 or more nodes each. I’m not quite sure how the arithmetic on that all works; perhaps the 125ish count of nodes is a bit low.
Clustrix technical notes include: Read more
|Categories: Cloud computing, Clustering, Clustrix, Database compression, Market share and customer counts, MySQL, OLTP, Pricing, Structured documents||4 Comments|
As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:
- Facebook et al. are in effect Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors, not enterprise technology users. In particular:
- They have the technical chops to rewrite their code as needed.
- Unlike packaged software vendors, they’re not answerable to anybody for keeping legacy code alive after a rewrite. That makes migration a lot easier.
- If they want to write different parts of their system on different technical underpinnings, nobody can stop them. For example …
- … Facebook innovated Cassandra, and is now heavily committed to HBase.
- It makes little sense to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL.” Better to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding.” That said:
- It’s hard to see why somebody today would use MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for a new project. At least one of Couchbase or transparently-sharded MySQL is very likely a superior alternative. Other alternatives might be better yet.
- As noted above in the example of Facebook, the many major web businesses that are using MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for existing projects can be presumed able to migrate away from that stack as the need arises.
Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:
- If you just want to write to the memcached API anyway, why not go with Couchbase?
- If you want to go relational, why not go with MySQL? There are many alternatives for scaling or accelerating MySQL — dbShards, Schooner, Akiban, Tokutek, ScaleBase, ScaleDB, Clustrix, and Xeround come to mind quickly, so there’s a great chance that one or more will fit your use case. (And if you don’t get the choice of MySQL flavor right the first time, porting to another one shouldn’t be all THAT awful.)
- If you really, really want to go in-memory, and don’t mind writing Java stored procedures, and don’t need to do the kinds of joins it isn’t good at, but do need to do the kinds of joins it is, VoltDB could indeed be a good alternative.
And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.
Since posting last Wednesday morning that I’m looking into NoSQL and HVSP, I’ve had a lot of conversations, including with (among others):
- Dwight Merriman of 10gen (MongoDB)
- Damien Katz of Couchio (CouchDB)
- Matt Pfeil of Riptano (Cassandra)
- Todd Lipcon of Cloudera (HBase committer)
- Tony Falco of Basho (Riak)
- John Busch of Schooner
- Ori Herrnstadt of Akiban
I was asked to do a magazine article on NoSQL, where by “NoSQL” is meant “whatever they talk about at NoSQL conferences.” By now the number of publications planning to run the article is up to 2, the deadline is next week and, crucially, it has been agreed that I may talk about HVSP in general, NoSQL and SQL alike.
It also is understood that, realistically, I can’t be expected to know and mention the very latest news for all the many products in the categories. Even so, I think this would be fine time to check just where NoSQL and HVSP adoption stand. Here is most of what I know, or links to same; it would be great if you guys would contribute additional data in the comment thread.
In the NoSQL area: Read more
|Categories: Akiban, Cassandra, Clustering, Clustrix, Couchbase, dbShards and CodeFutures, Facebook, Groovy Corporation, NewSQL, NoSQL, OLTP, Parallelization, ScaleDB, Specific users, VoltDB and H-Store, Zynga||17 Comments|
After my recent post, the Clustrix guys raised their hands and briefed me. Takeaways included: Read more
|Categories: Application areas, Clustrix, Emulation, transparency, portability, Games and virtual worlds, MySQL, NoSQL, OLTP, Parallelization, Solid-state memory||8 Comments|
Clustrix launched without briefing me or, at least so far as I can tell, anybody else who knows much about database technology. But Clustrix did post a somewhat crunchy, no-registration-required, white paper. Based on that, I get the impression:
- Clustrix is making OLTP DBMS.
- The core problem Clustrix tries to solve is scale-out, without necessarily giving up SQL. (I couldn’t immediately tell whether Clustrix supports NoSQL-style key-value interfaces enthusiastically, grudgingly, or not at all.)
- Unlike Akiban or VoltDB, Clustrix makes database appliances. The Clustrix software seems to assume a Clustrix appliance.
- A key feature of Clustrix’s database appliances is that they rely on solid-state memory. I’m guessing that Clustrix appliances don’t even have disks, or that if they do the disks store some software or something, not actual data. (As previously noted, I agree with Oracle in thinking that much of the progress in database technology this decade will come from proper design for solid-state memory.)
- Clustrix talks of things that sound like compiled queries and attempts to avoid locks. However, it doesn’t sound as extreme in these regards as VoltDB.
- Clustrix also talks of things that sound like consistent hashing.
- The brand name “Sierra” also shows up along with the brand name “Clustrix.”