When it comes to SQL database, it seems like there's no platform that can ever go fast enough.
The folks at VoltDB, however, are out to change that perception with a SQL database offering that runs entirely in memory on commodity hardware to deliver throughput that can easily exceed 100,000 ACID write operations per second, with average latencies below five milliseconds, according to Fred Holahan, chief marketing officer for VoltDB.
Holahan says the company's biggest issue at this point is just getting people to understand the art of what's now possible with SQL database technology. To address that challenge, the company this week released a "starter kit" version of its Volt in-memory database cluster platform that is priced at $5,000 a year. That platform can be easily upgraded to the company's existing enterprise edition, but Holahan says that at a cost of $5,000, the VoltOne edition is aimed primarily at developers building next-generation Web applications that have to dynamically scale to meet the requirements of any number of unknown users.
VoltDB is part of a larger movement towards moving database technology into memory that includes offerings from SAP, Oracle and Microsoft as a way of overcoming the performance limitations of disk drives. How long this transition will take is still anybody's guess, but given the need most Web application developers have for speed, coupled with a desire to reduce the actual amount of physical IT infrastructure needed to support those applications, the move to in-memory database technologies is probably going to happen as fast as possible.
Or, as Holahan puts it, memory is the new disk and this is not your father's SQL database anymore.