In-Memory Databases Go Mainstream
While much have been written about the subject, including several blog entries I have written here, it takes a database market share leader like Oracle to make it mainstream.
In the super-hyped Oracle OpenWorld event in San Francisco this week, the headline news is the announcement of Oracle 12c and the In-memory option. Several articles have already been published in the press, including:
1) Oracle Open World 2013: Oracle launches in-memory database search
2) Oracle's Ellison promises 'ungodly' database speed with new in-memory option
3) Oracle's Ellison Tries To Outmaneuver SAP Hana
Based solely on publicly available information from these articles, I will point out a few similarities as well as differences from our own offering, namely the Informix Warehouse Accelerator.
- Oracle claims its in-memory option requires no SQL changes and no application changes.
- 100x performance improvement
- Runs on both SMP and Cluster
- Dual storage approach whereby data is saved in both rows and columns
With the Informix/IWA combination, we store OLTP in its original row format in the Informix database, while in-memory processing is done using a columnar approach. Difference is that IWA never stores the columnar data on disk. HANA (from SAP), in contrast, uses only columnar storage for both OLTP/OLAP processing.
IWA has shipped its product over 2 ½ years ago. We have customers in production today using the technology.
- While Oracle has just announced this in-memory option, it has published no Beta or production deployment data.
IWA runs on commodity Intel hardware, for both SMP and Cluster, costing orders of magnitude less than proprietary hardware
- Oracle also announced the Big Memory Machine costing some $3 million dollars. It is based on the Sun Sparc M6 chip. This does not include software licensing and maintenance cost.
- IWA is integrated with the Informix Flexible Grid architecture whereby query acceleration can run off its primary or secondary servers with no impact on OLTP processing.
- IWA is a query accelerator. This means that users can choose to accelerate portions of the database where OLAP performance is most critical. Only parts of the entire database may be impacted.
Regardless of tradeoffs between different approaches, the most important point is that customers should feel that in-memory database is no longer an esoteric technology to watch out for. It has arrived and it is now mainstream. Informix has a strong offering and it has already proven itself with customers.
Carlton Doe offers an updated 1-day Proof of Technology (PoT) on IWA.
Its objective is as follows:
In this Proof of Technology, participants will install and configure the accelerator server. They will learn how to analyze queries to determine what tables and columns should be accelerated for greater performance. Finally, using a combination of graphical and command line utilities, they will create, deploy and load marts of accelerated data. They will execute queries against both non accelerated and accelerated data to see the dramatic and exponentially better response times Informix Warehouse Accelerator provides.
For information about this PoT, contact Carlton at 972-561-6103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are numerous Informix events around the world where IWA is discussed. An upcoming webcast (Oct 1) by one of our partners, Advanced Datatools can be found at: