How does transactional memory improve disk commits?

July 29, 2008

Curtis, my top source of scoops, pointed me to this breathless review of Sun’s new transactional memory hardware, making bold predictions that Sun will — and I quote: “horsefuck the database world”.

But unless I’m really missing something, how does this help?  A database’s bottleneck is not thread synchronization, it’s atomic writing to disk.  Sure, transaction management of in-memory data is costly.  But not nearly as costly as writing updates to disk in an infallible manner.

Maybe there are specific database scenarios that really benefit from this.  But a read-heavy scenario doesn’t have a lot of transactional overhead, and a write-heavy scenario will be bound by disk write performance.

So again, where does this help?  I must be totally missing something.  Can you help steer me straight?

david barrett


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