In-Memory Databases (IMDBs)

Moore’s Law tells us that CPU’s get a LOT faster over time.  Unfortunately for the database professional, all of the secondary elements of our databases DO NOT get a lot faster over time.  Overall, the main methods of storing data since the 1960’s, magnetic tape and hard disks, have improved only in the single percentiles year over year.  Even those of us who were never good at math can tell that the CPU is outpacing the other system components.

A portable computer, circa 1985

An Osborne Executive portable computer, from 1982, and an iPhone, released 2007. The Executive weighs 100 times as much, has nearly 500 times the volume, cost 10 times as much, and has a 100th the processing power of the iPhone.

Two recent developments are helping to change that equation.  First, solid state drives (SSDs) are having a dramatic impact many IT scenarios. My friends, Brent Ozar and Paul Randall, have each written about SSDs here and here, respectively.

Second, database vendors are supporting relational database systems that run entirely in system RAM.  If you’d like to learn more about in-memory databases (IMDB), read more in my new article in Data Management Magazine.  As we look to the future, I expect to see a lot more of both technologies in the data center.

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