Hoping to speed online transaction processing, Microsoft is adding in-memory features to its SQL Server relational database manager.
The next version of SQL Server will allow users to host database tables, or even entire databases, within a server's memory. "Any application that is throttled by the I/O of a hard disk would benefit" by having its data moved into memory, said Doug Leland, a general manager in Microsoft's server and tools business.
The company is testing the technology, code-named Hekaton, with a number of its customers.
By holding a database table in memory, a server can execute transactions that use that table much more quickly, because it doesn't have to read data from nor write data to a disk. Microsoft predicts that its in-memory technology can run transactions 50 times faster than a standard SQL Server setup can.
To ease deployments, the next version of SQL Server will include a tool that allows database administrators to designate databases or individual tables that can be run in memory. No changes will be required of the applications that use the databases, Leland said.
Oracle's Exadata and SAP's HANA include in-memory support.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.