Characteristics of a database system running on modern hardware


What are the ideal characteristics of a database system running on modern hardware?

In-memory database. All relevant data is available in main memory. This characteristic avoids the
performance penalty of disk I/O. With all data in memory, techniques to reduce disk I/O like diskbased indexes are no longer needed. Disk storage is still required for permanent persistency, for
example in the event of a power failure.

Cache-aware memory organization. The design must minimize the number of cache misses and
avoid CPU stalls because of memory access. A general mechanism to achieve this is to maximize the
spatial locality of data, i. e. data that should be accessed consecutively should be stored contiguously
in memory. For example search operations in tabular data can be accelerated by organizing data in
columns instead in rows.

Support for parallel execution. Higher CPU execution speeds are nowadays achieved by adding more
cores to a CPU package. Earlier improvements resulted from applying higher packing densities on the
chip and optimizing electronic current paths. The speed advancements available using these techniques have, for the most part, been exhausted. Multiple CPUs call for new parallel algorithms to be
used in databases in order to fully utilize the computing resources available.








Tags: what are the ideal characteristics of a database system running on modern hardware,
In-memory database, Cache-aware memory organization, Support for parallel execution
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