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 "For companies, it’s really a trade-off between the investment they’d be required to make and the business benefit they’d gain from it."


Living in memory

Jessica Twentyman
Information Age
18 August 2010

PA’s business intelligence specialist, Axel Goris and Paul Craig, database architecture specialists, are quoted in Information Age. Paul and Axel give their views on whether in-memory databases (IMBDs) entirely replace their disk-based forebears.

Axel says: “For companies, it’s really a trade-off between the investment they’d be required to make and the business benefit they’d gain from it.”

Paul Craig goes on to comment: “Most business applications do not require the kind of super-performance promised by in memory IMDBs. For those applications, it would be like buying a car that can travel at 150 miles per hour, when you only ever drive at 50 miles per hour.” 

Paul goes on to point out that there are areas where some traction for IMDBs, such as e-commerce applications, that have to contend with huge volumes of ‘look-ups’: “Take, for example, a rail enquiries site, which is expected to deliver data about train times, stations, routes and so forth in split-second response times,” he says. “Increased traffic to the website can be a nightmare for the company that runs it and any delay can easily result in lost revenue, so a massive increase in performance, provided by an in-memory database, could really help here.”

The same rules apply, Paul says, to social media applications such as Twitter or Facebook, which dynamically compile content based on user profiles. According to a recent paper from the Department of Computer Science at California’s Stanford University, web companies like these are leading the in-memory database charge.

Paul concludes: “In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of DRAM [dynamic random access memory], driven by the performance requirements of large-scale web applications,” the paper reads. “For example, both Google and Yahoo! store their search indices entirely in DRAM.” 

You can read the article in full here (by kind permission of Information Age.).

If you would like to read more about PA's expertise in this area, please click here.


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