Episode 199: Michael Stonebraker on Current Developments in Databases

Filed in Episodes by on December 5, 2013 11 Comments

Recording Venue: Skype

Guest: Michael Stonebraker

Michael StonebrakerDr. Michael Stonebraker, one of the leading researchers and technology entrepreneurs in the database space, joins Robert for a discussion of database architecture and the emerging NewSQL family of databases. Dr. Stonebraker opens with his take on how the database market is segmented around a small number of use cases: OLTP, data warehouses, and event stream processing. He discusses the origins of the standard architecture for OLTP, which is row-based, and says it’s no longer optimal for any of the use cases that it is applied to. He proceeds to describe some research he has done, showing that row-based databases spend about 90 percent of their time acquiring and releasing locks, buffer management, and other activities that could be characterized as overhead in comparison to main task of reading and writing data. These results, which in Stonebraker’s view are intrinsic to the row-based architecture, require a new architecture to overcome. The discussion proceeds to a new database architecture, known as “NewSQL” or “NewOLTP,” which is single-threaded, lock-free, doesn’t require disk I/O in the critical path, and can scale out to a large multiple node cluster. Stonebraker criticizes the eventual consistency model that some NoSQL distributed systems employ and he defends the ACID guarantees as a superior model. The interview closes with a discussion about database education in university curricula and Stonebraker’s thoughts on the place of Hadoop in the data storage space.

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