Briefing: ANTs Data Server
ANTs Data Server 2.4
$25,000 per CPU
We all know databases are key players in many applications these days.
In fact, it's tough to think of anything we do that doesn't result in a
row in a database somewhere. At the same time, we're all familiar with
making idle chit-chat on the phone will someone at the other end says
"gosh, the computer is slow today." 99% of the time, that means they're
waiting for the database.
With the pervasiveness of databases, it makes sense that someone should
rethink the way that databases work, with an eye on performance. And
that's precisely what ANTs has done. By reworking the core database
engine with some innovative idea, they've succeeded in producing a
SQL-based RDBMS that can be an order of magnitude or more faster than
One of the big advances is that they've gotten rid of most of the need
for locking in the engine. Rather than locking everything that might
result in a conflict, the ANTs Data Server collects SQL statements for a
while, analyzes them for conflicts, and then only worries about locking
on rows where there's actually a problem. Everything else gets blasted
right into the database. It also looks at conflicts right down to the
field level, the obvious but seldom-implemented extension to page and
record locking. All this is, of course, a gross oversimplification of
their patented technology, but it will give you some idea of what
they've done in their engineering effort. SQL statements are also
compiled and cached for a further boost in speed.
The new version supports hyperthreading CPUs and up to 64GB of RAM
(obviously, if you can load more into RAM you can also speed things up).
There are versions for Linux, Windows, and Solaris. If you know PL/SQL,
you won't have much trouble making the transition to the dialect that
For more information, check out the ANTs Web site, where you can
download technical documentation or even a complete working version of
the server (though one that's not licensed for production use) to stress
in your own application.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.