Feeds

Time to reject traditional database techniques?

'Big' data and the BI challenge

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Mainstream database management system (DBMS) technology faces a challenge from new approaches that reject the relational model. The battleground is set to be the market for business intelligence based on very large databases.

Some main players in DBMS software are already jockeying for position with revamped database products aimed at recapturing ground lost to newer products. Recently Microsoft unveiled Kilimanjaro, the next massively scalable version of its SQL Server with a strong BI flavor, while database market number-one Oracle joined forces with Hewlett-Packard to launch its Exadata storage grid.

Both announcements shared a common theme: How to make huge volumes of data easily available to power business intelligence applications?

And the numbers in question are huge. We are, of course, familiar with "huge" numbers in time of billion-dollar banking-industry bail outs. But these figures are dwarfed by the numbers of transactions pouring into some company databases and the amount of storage needed to accommodate them.

Back in January, Google reckoned it processed 20 petabytes of data a day - a number that has doubtless grown significantly since. And even lower down the scale, LGR Telecommunications is reported to be adding 13 billion records each day to a 310 terabyte data warehouse system and expects its petabyte of disks to double in the next year.

Although such huge volumes are still relatively unusual, it will not be long before even relatively small organizations will think of terabytes and petabytes of data as commonplace. If they want to make practical use of the data in business intelligence applications, they will find their traditional relational DBMS technology stretched.

Cracks in the edifice

It is not only the logistics of storing and managing such enormous amounts of data that poses a big challenge to DBMS builders. There is also the problem of giving users access to the data in a form that it might actually be useful. User queries have grown more complex and the limitations of traditional access methods based on Structured Query Language (SQL) have been exposed.

The cracks in relational DBMS and the inadequacies of SQL were highlighted in a paper called The End of an Architectural Era, presented at the conference on Very Large Databases (VLDB) in September 2007. The collaborative work of several DBMS gurus - including Ingres/PostIngres originator Michael Stonebraker - the paper, declared the relational model obsolete and argued that alternative approaches were better suited to today's data management and access problems.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.