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Information acceleration and security

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The evolution of storage

Many vendors constrained within the relational database model only have one way of making significant performance improvements: change the storage medium. But this does not solve the fundamental issues that hamstring data access.

During the sixty or so years since the dawn of electronic computing, we have seen a gradual evolution in the way data is stored, manipulated and managed:

As technology has advanced, the optimum method for storing data has developed.

Hardware developments for data storage have evolved from punched paper, cards etc. through to dynamic memory. Advances in computer technology means that, today, a 64-bit desktop computer is capable of addressing 16 Million Terabytes of memory storage.

As storage has quickened, the optimum data management method has developed.

There will probably always be a place for each of these storage technologies. Punched paper cards, for example, are still used today — in plastic form rather than paper — for hotel room access systems; magnetic tape is still arguably the most convenient and cost effective medium for long-term backup, particularly where offsite storage of data is necessary.

Disk drives are still, and will remain the optimum means for persistent storage of data, and relational databases are the most versatile method for managing this data on a hard disk. There is, however, a problem created by the growth of disk storage:

The blue line represents the improvement in disk drive technology. In 1970, disks rotated at 1,300 RPM, today they rotate at 15,000 RPM, so data can be accessed approximately 12 times faster. The red line represents processor speed improvement. In 1970 processor speed was around 100Khz, today processor speed is around 3GHz, so data can be produced around 30,000 times faster. The gap between the two lines represents the processor having to wait for the disk. The disk drive has become a major bottleneck in computer systems.

Since 1982 Celeram have specialised in helping businesses bridge the gap between processor speeds and disk speeds.

Solid State Disks(SSD) have blurred the line between RAM and spinning-platter drives, shrinking the gap and giving relational databases a perceived speed boost. But the underlying architecture of the database remains optimized for rotating storage mechanisms so the need for contiguous blocks of row-centric storage and maintaining redundant information (foreign keys) place a great strain on SSD devices.

Even with advanced wear-levelling algorithms, writing more data than necessary to the drive means its lifespan is reduced, not to mention the extra cost associated with the drives themselves: why store more data than you have to?

Celeram understands the nature of data storage, the relative benefits and pitfalls, and offers the optimum combination of hardware technology and software methods to achieve best-in-class performance, reliability and scalability.