Four Questions when Selecting an In Memory Database
TechTarget’s Database glossary defines an in-memory database (IMDB) as a database whose data is stored in main memory to facilitate faster response times. The source data is loaded into system memory in a compressed, non-relational format. There are benefits to having an in-memory database including that it helps streamline the work involved in processing queries. Data moves between the disk and memory in a cache, so it is easily accessible whether deployed on-premises, via public cloud, or both. An IMDB also offers better performance than older disk-based alternatives. Like any product or service from shampoos to behind-the-scenes tech products, each vendor will stress different features that their products offer to convince you that you NEED to purchase a specific one.
Do I need an IMDB?
Applications that can benefit from a performance boost can benefit from using an IMDB. More specifically, applications with real-time data management requirements such as apps for telecom and networking, capital markets, defense and intelligence, hotels, concerts, sports events, restaurants, car rental, call center applications, and gaming can all gain from using an IMDB.
My database is a workhorse, can an IMDB handle it?
High availability, security, performance, scalability, and management are all key components of an IMDB. Data needs to be easily accessible, and when accessed, needs to be accurate and consistent. With a highly used database, each transaction needs to be supported regardless of how many other queries are occurring simultaneously. IMDB’s enable critical applications to perform reliably by protecting the data wherever it resides or transverses.
I’m running multiple applications across a large number of users, all of whom access the IMDB, will it work it support this traffic?
Yes, the IMDB can adapt to a mix of workloads without imposing costly hardware upgrades or new purchases. It is able to determine and allocate resources on an as-needed basis. It’s also scalable and can support growth in users, queries and data without additional hardware, instead using in-memory processing.
Can I afford this?
On the one hand, memory still costs more than disk, although DRAM chips are getting cheaper every year.
An IMDB may be available as a desktop, workgroup or enterprise edition with varying capabilities and features. It is best to choose one that matches your performance and price goals.
To save money on an IMDB and keep staff costs low, look for an IMDB that is simple to install, has automated troubleshooting and requires little training of administrators.
The decision to purchase and the migration process to an IMDB is a complex one. Fortunately, many industry analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester offer guidance reports. According to Forrester, SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and Teradata are the leading vendors in this space with MemSQL, Kognitio, VoltDB, DataStax, Aerospike, and Starcounter offering competitive options.
If you decide an IMDB is for you, happy picking!