What are in-memory databases?
In-memory databases (
IMDBs), sometimes referred to as in-memory data stores, are database systems that store, read, write, and access data in random access memory (RAM) instead of read-only memory (ROM). IMDBs use RAM to retrieve data quickly by making constantly updated replicas of data records. IMBDs are defined by the location where they store data, not necessarily by one type of data structuring. As a result, both relational and non-relational databases can use in-memory database management systems.
IMDBs are an increasingly popular alternative to databases that use traditional memory storage solutions such as hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs). By storing data in RAM, IMBDs functionally avoid the use of disk-based components in storage. This means IMDBs can significantly reduce access response times, efficiently handle large traffic spikes, and scale to real-time storage needs. Compared to other database solutions, IMDBs can better support SQL, which generally works best when you can use available volatile memory. These factors make IMDBs attractive options for business intelligence analysts, companies with high internet traffic, and developers who need real-time caching.
In-memory databases vs
. embedded databases
IMDBs are commonly combined with embedded databases, but they are not strictly the same. IMDBs are defined by their use of RAM for storage, but any database that is directly integrated into an application is considered an embedded database.
Integrated databases are useful for applications or programs that need to access stored data exceptionally fast, usually related to industry- or product-specific features and considerations. For example, many tax software products use integrated database systems to quickly access relevant information, such as exemption calculations or data from previous years. For these types of data access needs, an integrated database system may be a better choice than a standalone in-memory database.
Embedded databases typically use secondary memory for storage, but this is not always the case. An embedded database can also be an in-memory database, and vice versa. As such, each database system can use techniques normally found in the other.
The most common features of in-memory databases are:
- Support for big data and streaming data
- Real-time data ingestion Real-time analytics
- Visualization tools
- High-speed transactions
- Data version control and history management
- Job and queue
- management Fault
- Machine Learning Features and
- Support Implementation Training and
- Scalability I/O acceleration
- Automated data migration Third-party
Funds management and
Automated database integration
integration In-memory database
comparison When choosing the best
database for you, consider the following
Integration vs. standalone: Depending on your current workflow, you’ll need to consider whether you want to purchase a standalone IMDB product or one that integrates with your current architecture. If you have an existing data management network, you’ll find that several vendors, such as AWS, offer connectors to make IMDB inclusion smooth and efficient. However, some vendors only offer IMDB as part of a larger package of services, so these might be better for newer businesses or companies looking to change large parts of their workflows.
Open source vs. managed
: One of the main factors in choosing the best IMDB for you is determining whether you want an open source or managed IMDB product. Open source IMDBs are more flexible than their managed counterparts and are generally less expensive. However, managed IMDB providers handle server uptime and overall maintenance on behalf of the customer, meaning users won’t need to manually address upgrade or troubleshooting.
: Because IMBDs store data on volatile storage, a process or server failure can result in data loss if proper backup solutions are not considered. Many IMBDs create version snapshots or operation logs that allow for fairly quick recovery, but if data security is a primary concern, consider using an additional storage system. Most IMBDs include ways to automate backing up data to an HDD or SSD, while some can also sync with cloud-based storage.
many free in-memory databases, which tend to be open source or significantly restricted versions of a provider’s paid services. Prices for paid services vary depending on the amount of data stored, data security features, and other concerns. Contact a vendor to create an appropriate pricing model. Many vendors offer free trials or demos of their product.