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RAM is the new disk – and how to measure its performance – Part 1 – Introduction

[ part 1 | part 2 | part 3 ]

RAM is the new disk, at least in the In-Memory computing world.

No, I am not talking about Flash here, but Random Access Memory – RAM as in SDRAM. I’m by far not the first one to say it. Jim Gray wrote this in 2006: “Tape is dead, disk is tape, flash is disk, RAM locality is king” (presentation)

Also, I’m not going to talk about how RAM is faster than disk (everybody knows that), but in fact how RAM is the slow component of an in-memory processing engine.

I will use Oracle’s In-Memory column store and the hardware performance counters in modern CPUs for drilling down into the low-level hardware performance metrics about CPU efficiency and memory access.

But let’s first get started by looking a few years into past into the old-school disk IO and index based SQL performance bottlenecks :)