Archive 27 Sept 2007 #63
BIG DB WITH SIX-NINES AVAILABILITY
By William Flanagan, Publisher
Last issue, we looked at a high availability database created by
software that replicates information across the hard drives on
application servers. While great for many uses, the technology does
have limits on the size of the database itself--it doesn't scale up to
very large storage.
For the biggest jobs there's another candidate, with a claim to "six
nines" availability: Solid Information Technology (www.solidtech.com)
offers solidDB and SolidDB for MySQL. These products draw on the
company's 15-year history of providing fast database engines for
embedded applications in telecommunications (switches, billing servers),
finance (trading, point of sale), and data storage systems. Recently
the company started delivery of generalized products, built around the
MySQL query interface, that "instantly" (in 10's of milliseconds) fails
over to a redundant server with no data loss (hence the six-nines
claim). Solid states that two servers are sufficient to reach six-nines
(but those servers should be good quality themselves).
There is also a C language API to MySQL and an instance of MyISAM for
the data dictionary and applications not organized as transactions.
The newer Solid databases incorporate capabilities of the embedded
product: an in-memory engine for fast, predictable response times with
large numbers of users and transactions. A disk-based data engine
provides durability for information and expandable capacity limited only
by the number and size of the disks.
By using the API of MySQL, the database structure is hidden from
programmers--it looks like a disk-based storage system just faster.
Behind the veil are the potential benefits of 64-bit, multi-core
processors (to 16 cores) without changing the interface. With live
replication, the number of cores can be changed without taking down the
application: blade servers were cited as a candidate hardware platform.
Solid's web site offers a free version of solidDB for MySQL downloadable
under the General Public License (GPL) for the open source code.
Applications written for MySQL as a back-end may work "out of the box,"
but of course that is not guaranteed. Solid makes a living from solidDB
6 (containing proprietary features) and by supporting developers,
manufacturers, and end users in deploying the DB engines with specific
applications. There are certified versions of the DB engines for seven
operating systems, so yours is probably included.
The database is an important part of applications. There are multiple
ways to have high availability for the DB that require little or no
development, so with that part under control future issues of the VL
will look at other aspects of services.
Your discussion is always welcome: Publisher@ViewsLetter.com.
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