RethinkDB and SSD Databases. SSD was not a revolution.

Turns out RethinkDB is a SSD database to watch in 2011. I’ve known about it for a while but it hasn’t really stood out just yet (I don’t know anyone running it in production).

That said, I’m excited by the potential.

What’s really shocking to me, is that while SSD and flash storage is very exciting, it wasn’t as revolutionary in 2010 as I would have liked to have seen.

I’m not sure why this is… there are people running them at scale but not significantly enough to make them a revolution.

RethinkDB is a MySQL data store optimized for solid state drives. Solid-state drives do away with moving parts and are extremely low-latency. Most database stores are designed for traditional hard drives and assume relatively high-latency. RethinkDB aims to allow database developers to take full advantage of the performance benefits of solid-state drives.

[From 5 Cloud Startups to Watch in 2011 # 4: RethinkDB – ReadWriteCloud]


  1. SSDs are definitely causing revolutions in some places in the world. Given the funding available to startups, blekko would never have been able to build a cluster serving a 3 billion page crawl without SSDs.

  2. Hey Greg.

    I was thinking that Blekko and Wikia are good examples of this.

    However, there aren’t many (any?) cloud providers for example that have SSD offerings and the flash PCI stuff still isn’t at scale.

    Still a lot of potential here considering what we’ve seen so far (which I think is the main point I was trying to bring up).

  3. Enterprise-ish MLC drives from second-tier vendors like OWC are now about the same price as equivalently sized Enterprise FC drives. I think many potential adopters have legitimate concern about the reliability of MLC drives, and what the failure modes will be. SLC drives have barely budged in price. My guess is the upcoming arrival of SAS enterprise SSDs later this year will cause a rapid shift.

    MySQL needs to do a lot of work to remove internal bottlenecks, however. I benchmarked a 50:50 OLTP workload with PostgreSQL, Oracle and MySQL on FusionIO drives a year back, and the MySQL throughput and latency figures were abysmal in comparison. Granted, that was using InnoDB with the Google/Percona patches, rather than a purpose-built engine like RethinkDB.

  4. Morgan Tocker

    Every time there is a revolution, for some people it happens too fast, for others not fast enough ;)

  5. You can see where the revolution’s headed, though:

    * Almost all laptops/desktops will ship with SSD

    * Anyone with an active database smaller than ~ 1 Tbyte is going to go SSD — perhaps allowing many databases to stop being sharded.

  6. Yeah…. HDDs on laptops need to die. Just doesn’t make sense.

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