VoltDB Says New Database Offers 45x Improvement in Processing Speed

VoltDB, LLC, has begun shipping the VoltDB OLTP database management system that is intended to offer faster transaction processing capabilities due to lower overhead. VoltDB, developed under the leadership of Postgres and Ingres co-founder, Mike Stonebraker, is a next-generation, open source DBMS that, according to the company, has been shown to process millions of transactions per second on inexpensive clusters of off-the-shelf servers.  

"We're targeting people with transaction processing scalability challenges looking for a faster, better, more economic alternative," Scott Jarr, president of VoltDB, tells DBTA. "There do seem to be certain industries that are drawn to VoltDB such as gaming, social networking and advertising, as are financial trading and telecommunications companies."

VoltDB can be accessed using SQL and ensures transactional data integrity (ACID). VoltDB is ideal for developers of ad serving, gaming, software as a service (SaaS), financial trading, on-line businesses and other systems with large, fast-growing transaction volumes because VoltDB scales out easily on low-cost servers while providing automatic high availability for 24x7 operation.

Most OLTP databases are based on 30-year-old designs conceived before the rise of today's massive web-scale database workloads, according to the company. Traditional databases can spend more than 90% their time on overhead such as logging, locking, latching and buffer management, which limits their ability to perform and scale.

The VoltDB design is based on an in-memory, distributed database partitioning concept that is optimized to run on today's memory-rich servers with multi-core CPUs. Data is held in memory (instead of on disk) for maximum throughput, which eliminates buffer management. VoltDB distributes data - and a SQL engine to process it - to each CPU core in the server cluster. Each single-threaded partition operates autonomously, eliminating the need for locking and latching. Data is automatically replicated for intra-cluster high availability, which eliminates logging. VoltDB performance scales out near linearly by simply adding additional servers to the cluster.

VoltDB says tests have shown VoltDB can process 45 times more transactions per second than a well-tuned, traditional DBMS - at 53,000 transactions per second on a single node versus the other DBMS processing 1,155 TPS on identical hardware, the vendor claims. VoltDB can serve as an alternative to MS SQL Server at sites, and even Oracle databases, says Jarr. "If they have run into performance limitations on their transaction workload, we think VoltDB is the best alternative," he says. "It runs 45 times as fast, leverages low-cost hardware, scales painlessly and unlike other alternatives such as key-value stores, they don't have to give up SQL or ACID to get scalable DBMS performance."

The open source Community Edition of VoltDB is licensed under the General-Purpose License and is available for free, while subscriptions are available for a four-server configuration. For more information, go to