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Monthly Archives: June 2011

SQLFire 1.0 beta released! Structured data now with performance and scale.

Today we’re very happy to announce that our beta of vFabric SQLFire has been released!

There’s tremendous change underway today in data management. These days people are looking for databases that are faster, more scalable, more reliable, and can effortlessly serve users around the globe. We believe SQLFire does a great job addressing these concerns and more.

Since we’re all pretty busy and evaluating a product can be hard, I’m going to kick things with this little video tour through our quick start guide, covering install and running a few basic commands. Some of the important points it covers are:

  1. The video shows how easy it is to add nodes to the database, or “distributed system” in our jargon. So it’s very easy to horizontally scale SQLFire. (Removing nodes is just as easy though the video doesn’t cover that.)
  2. If you’ve scaled a system out you have to plan very explicitly for failure. If a member fails about once a year, and you’ve got 12 of them, you can expect one failure per month. 24 members, you can expect 2 per month. You get the idea. The video shows that if a distributed system member fails for some reason, SQLFire clients will automatically connect to some other member in the system.

In our formal marketing-speak we describe SQLFire as a memory-oriented, shared-nothing distributed data management system that uses SQL as its interface.

Memory-oriented: SQLFire is memory-oriented in the sense that regular data accesses are all done purely in memory. SQLFire can also write data to disk, which you might do to protect yourself from a crash, but data is not written to disk in a way that is used for random data retrievals. Traditional databases work very hard to optimize around disk access, and use a lot of tricks to try to minimize disk seeks, structure data sequentially, etc. With SQLFire, queries and data retrieval are done purely in memory for maximum speed. Anybody who watches the prices and configuration of servers knows that memory volumes are getting huge, a server with 1 terabyte of RAM costs well under $50,000 these days, in a few years we’ll look back and laugh at servers that “only” have 1TB of RAM. Quite a lot of databases will fit very happily inside 1TB and SQLFire is taking advantage of this industry shift.

Shared-nothing and distributed: Another big shift that’s been underway for a while is the shift away from big, monolithic systems toward scale-out systems built from commodity hardware. The big web giants really pioneered this shift but a lot of people still aren’t benefiting from it. SQLFire embraces scale-out by making it trivial to add and remove capacity at any time.

There’s a lot more in SQLFire I didn’t cover here, so be sure to download SQLFire and try it yourself. Visit the SQLFire Community to get everything you need, and be sure to check in on the Discussions tab and let us know what you think!