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An in-memory database, which is commonly referred to as a memory resident database, or a main memory database system, is a relatively basic database management system used for the storage of computer data. In-memory databases principally utilize main memory for their data storage.
There are many different benefits of an in-memory database; the first and most prominent being that the memory is located and stored internally. A traditional database generally relies on a disk-based storage system, which obviously brings an external element into play, such as a hard drive. While in-memory databases are not always as reliable as their traditional counterparts, they have a smaller amount of CPU instructions than disk-optimizing databases, and feature simpler and easier internal optimization algorithms than disks do. As such, the primary benefit associated with an in-memory database is its impressive and noteworthy response time. The speed at which data from an in-memory database is accessed is notably quicker than disk-optimizing databases, making in-memory the go-to choice for any application where response time is a key component. High-Performance Computing and Big Data applications – such as Mobile advertising and telecommunications network equipment – often utilize the benefits of in-memory databases.
As technology continues to grow, and ideas are steadily innovated, the in-memory database improves. As aforementioned, in-memory databases are often eschewed for disk-based storage systems because a traditional storage system’s reliability can more than offset an in-memory database’s quick and instant access. However, that parity is rapidly disappearing. Hybrid databases have recently combined the best of both worlds, giving users the reliability of a traditional system, mixed with the practicality of an in-memory database. These hybrid systems are becoming more and more popular every day.
However, the in-memory database’s most impressive innovation is also one of its most appealing and beneficial features. In-memory databases now take advantage of Non-Volatile Dual In-Line Memory Modules (or NVDIMM for short), which has taken their capabilities to the next level. NVDIMMs allow a database to retain stored data even in the event of a loss of power. Whether power is unexpectedly lost, a system crashes and shuts down, or a user simply removes the power, NVDIMMs allow in-memory databases the capability to maintain their entire data storage while running at full speed, regardless of whether or not they have access to power.
While the benefits of in-memory databases are not necessarily applicable to the average person, they can be wildly beneficial in the right context. In fact, in-memory databases can perform data management functions at a full order of magnitude faster than their disk-utilizing counterparts. And with innovation, invention, and creation constantly at play in the tech world, in-memory databases are only going to get better, and continue to improve database management.