April 13, 2016
MariaDB is rolling out a new storage engine named ColumnStore for massively parallel distributed query execution and big data loading. They claim the engine will support a variety of use-cases, including algorithmic analytics and real-time batch.
If you have no idea what any of that means, you are definitely not alone. For the sake of simplicity, ColumnStore is a large-scale engine that helps facilitate the storage of data and the collection of analytics on big data systems.
More importantly, ColumnStore is the first of its kind to allow both massively parallelized and transactional workloads for analytics through the same engine. Not many tools can operate as a database system and handle analytics. More specifically, there are no others.
What Is ColumnStore?
MariaDB, as you may already know, is a community-developed, relational database management system that was created as a fork to MySQL. So naturally, the ColumnStore engine was built on top of MariaDB version 10.1.
It is a columnar database system, which means it stores data in columns, as opposed to rows. Keeping data in columns allows the system to read and write to disk faster, which speeds up queries substantially. In addition, data in a columnar database can be compressed — up to 25x with ColumnStore — which helps conserve storage space.
ColumnStore works like any other relational database system, with one exception. It comes with integrated and powerful analytics tools. Why is this important?
Because companies have begun using big data to inform business decisions, and slapping analytics tools on a relational database is easily one of the most effective ways to build a profile. Relational database systems such as MariaDB — and now ColumnStore — are where the important data resides when it is stashed away.
If you understand anything about data, you can begin to see that an analytics system like this is incredibly powerful. With it, you can identify how data is being stored, what data is being stored, when and how it is accessed, and much more. You’ll also gain access to a huge selection of patterns and habits associated with those actions.
To make a long story short, ColumnStore will allow companies to analyze and streamline all data being processed by their systems.
How Can ColumnStore Help My Business?
MariaDB chief technology officer Michael “Monty” Widenius says that ColumnStore offers companies that don’t want to pay for big data a way to house all their information, specifically relating to analytical processing. Big data has become a priority for all businesses, who need to be able to scale their analytics abilities to get the information they need out of the growing mounds of data.
ColumnStore's operating costs are also worth mentioning in this conversation. The low overhead means that nearly any business can take advantage of the platform. This is remarkable news for startup and small business owners because, until now, there haven’t been many platforms that combine low cost and superior performance ratio.
Will Powers, the systems infrastructure and data services expert at Bandwidth, says it best. The technology behind ColumnStore allows his company to provide clients with the insights and data that brings increased revenue and allows them to combat against fraud. Bandwidth is thrilled MariaDB has created such a tool, considering there are no alternatives out there that combine low cost and great performance.
Systems like ColumnStore will become increasingly important as the algorithmic and automated economy heats up. Companies of all sizes will turn to the Internet of Things and data collection to make big business decisions. They will need to assess data — like the kind ColumnStore handles — in order to make more informed and effective decisions.
According to MariaDB, the ColumnStore engine will be available to beta test as early as this year, starting in May. As you can expect from a beta, however, it will be using this time to fine-tune the engine and the tools it provides.
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