Feeds

ParAccel flashes data warehouses

Thinking in columns

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

ParAccel - one of the many upstarts that is chasing the data warehousing and analytics dollars these days - has tweaked its ParAccel Analytic Database 2.0 software and its underlying homegrown Linux operating system so that the x64 nodes on which it runs can be equipped with flash-based drives. And that, the company says, will boost query performance.

The ParAccel analytics database and the data warehousing clusters that are built using it are not just glorified relational databases that organize record information in rows and then scan it to do queries, but rather use a columnar format that organizes data by field. (The Sybase IQ database, which is used in several thousand data warehouses and which is distinct from the regular Adaptive Server relational database, also organizes data in columns).

Organizing relational databases by row is key for transaction processing, where you want to locate a record among zillions, read its data, and maybe modify it. But in a data warehouse, where you want to sort data and extract answers from the tables underlying the database, this row orientation gets in the way and slows everything down. Which is why Barry Zane, one of the founders of data warehousing appliance maker Netezza, left the company and started ParAccel in 2006.

Here's a simple example: Say you have a subset of the US census data with 10 different answers to questions stored in 10 fields in a relational database. Say each one has 10 bytes of data. In the row-oriented relational data warehouse, if you want to ask a question about the state and age of citizens, you have to scan all ten fields, for a total of 1,000 bytes.

But in a columnar database, you know you only want to look at the age and state columns, and you are only scanning 200 bytes to do a query. With the ParAccel database, you run the database in a shared-nothing, massively parallel cluster of servers with a mix of local server and remote SAN storage, and you can radically speed up table scans and queries as well as loading of data onto the database because everything is parallelized.

The addition of flash to PADB 2.0, which started shipping in June, doesn't boost performance as much as you might expect, and that's because of the clever things that the database already does with local and remote storage to goose performance. According to Kim Stanick, vice president of marketing at ParAccel, customers should expect about a 15 per cent performance boost if they add some flash drives to their x64 servers, and when the reduced power consumption is taken into account, they might see a 25 per cent increase in queries per watt. That's nothing to shake a stick at, but it is not the kind of performance improvement you would expect given the very high I/O rates of flash drives.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Next page: Redmondian roots

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.