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Re: VoltDB

From: Peter Headland <Peter(at)matrixlink(dot)com>
To: Jon Asher <jon(dot)asher(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: SF Postgres <sfpug(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: VoltDB
Date: 2010-05-27 14:31:56
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: sfpug
On 2010-05-26 18:27, Jon Asher wrote:
> Well it's an in-memory db so it's fast.  Big surprise.  Think of 
> memcache for the cloud with SQL support.

My "perpetual motion" snark was aimed at the way the web site implies 
that you get all the wonderfulness without giving up anything. The web 
site is actually surprisingly coy about exactly how it works unless you 
"register", and the whole thing has been deliberately shrouded in 
mystery from it's inception. (Epic fail - NEVER make people who might 
want your product "register" before they are allowed to know any details 
of it!)

I am not saying that H-store/VoltDB is a bad product or bad concept 
within its niche; I am just very unimpressed by the way the web site 
appears to engage in the sleazy overselling techniques of big 
corporations. That is a pattern that seems to have evolved as the 
project became more visible over the past year or so. I smell a weasel 
at work! :-)

Some more thorough searching elsewhere reveals that this is far from a 
general-purpose RDBMS, and even the SQL support is hedged about with 
rather draconian limitations and caveats (you weren't expecting to be 
able to issue SQL queries via JDBC, were you?) I'd go so far as to say 
that the SQL support might be more about marketing than it is about 
utility, since all db access has to be via specially structured Java 
classes anyhow.

In short, if you can fit your application into its rather narrow 
world-view, it can be spectacularly fast, but if your application 
evolves in the "wrong"direction, most of the benefits will likely 
evaporate. Personally, I don't like laying myself open to catastrophic 
performance degradations and/or inability to deliver when my users' 
requirements change unexpectedly - I'd rather it was slow to begin with 
than blazing fast for a year, then slow, because the latter gets you 
fired at the end of the year. That said, there are some very successful 
applications that use non-RDBMS environments that have the same 
characteristic, and people have managed to make those work (and retain 
their jobs).

Peter Headland

In response to

  • Re: VoltDB at 2010-05-27 01:27:16 from Jon Asher


  • Re: VoltDB at 2010-05-27 14:56:22 from Jon Asher

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