Friday, September 07, 2007

Column Databases Reach Slashdot

In a typically incorrect charactization of the issue Slashdot is covering column databases: Relational database pioneer says technology is obsolete via Are Relational Databases Obsolete?. A better way to explain it, is that column databases are designed to get around the current problems with modern computer architectures such as latency in memory and hard disks as well as achieving better CPU utilization (typically databases have very little parallelism).

While it's early days yet, column databases storing something like RDF may get faster than row-oriented SQL databases. I posted about column databases storing RDF previously.

"Vertica beats all row stores on the planet -- typically by a factor of 50," he wrote. "The only engines that come closer are other column stores, which Vertica typically beats by around a factor of 10."

And from the cited blog:
In addition, it provides built-in features appropriate to the needs of 2007 customers. These include:

o Linear scalability over a shared-nothing hardware grid
o Automatic high availability
o Automatic use of materialized views
o "No knobs" -- minimum DBA requirements

Seeing as though I've just been looking into this here are a few references:
Update: InfoQ and artima have also picked up on the story.
Update 2: While I'm normally pretty skeptical about most things, column databases have had their own fair share of problems in the past.
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