SAP’s In-Memory Technology – An Oracle Killer

In IT on August 11, 2006 at 3:12 am

eWeek (print) has an interesting article about SAP’s in-memory technology that could be an “Oracle killer”. Everyone knows that the performance cost on any traditional database lies on its I/O operations. With SAP’s in-memory technology, the data will be stored and indexed in memory rathen than on disks, reducing the cost of I/O operations, which obviously will result in better performance.

Reliability? I don’t know. They say that it’s pretty reliable as it’s been test run on pretty large enterprises like Coca-Cola, BP which has pretty large data warehousing needs.

Here are some of the quotes from the article.

SAP may have stumbled onto an Oracle killer: in-memory technology that could, in theory, quash the need for a relational database in some cases.

SAP has sussed out a way to organize its business intelligence data in columns versus tables, storing and indexing the data in memory and then running it all on blade servers. The result is faster queries than would be possible by tapping data stored in a data warehouse or relational database.

SAP is working on in-memory data management capabilities that could go beyond BI to other areas of the application stack, replacing the need for a relational database in new software installations.

SAP puts its technology on IBM and Hewlett-Packard server to speed up, by order of magnitude, querying capabilities. It put the boxes out in the field at some big companies with pretty large data warehousing needs: Coca-Cola, Whirlpool, British Petroleum and Novartis. The results were astonishing: a 90 percent increase in reporting performance, with queries cut from 50 seconds down to 3 seconds in the case of Coca-Cola.

SAP’s use of in-memory technology brings up an interesting question: if the technology could potentially disrupt Oracle’s database business, wouldn’t it also disrupt IBM and Microsoft as well?

In-memory database technology keeps data in memory rather than stored on disk. The technology is now used primarily in financial and telecommunications applications, where speed is critical, but people in the industry suggest it could be relevant in SOA, RFID, manufacturing and e-commerce as well.

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