Column oriented databases

Via our fine friends at ComputerWorld, a pointer to The Database Column, a group blog that  Michael Stonebraker's is taking part in.  Of particular interest is the second post "One Size Fits All - A Concept Whose Time Has Come and Gone", which contends that  the big RDBMS vendors haven't sufficiently modified their major offerings to cope with the changing world of data warehousing.

Interestingly, the approach taken by the "column stores" that he describes are characterized by:

  • Column orientation
  • Aggressive data compression
  • Query executor runs against compressed data

These are, essentially, the three characteristics of an inverted file-based information retrieval system.  The inverted file is the column orientation, and any recent IR text will point out that processing compressed postings is a lot faster than dealing with uncompressed data.
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This is Stephen Green's blog. It's about the theory and practice of text search engines, with occasional forays into recommendation and other technologies that can use a good text search engine. Steve is the PI of the Information Retrieval and Machine Learning project in Oracle Labs.

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