6.830 | Fall 2010 | Graduate, Undergraduate

Database Systems


Lecture 17: Parallel Databases


Dewitt, David, and Jim Gray. “Parallel Database Systems: The Future of High Performance Database Processing.” Communications of the ACM 35, no. 6 (1992): 85-98. In the Red Book.

The Dewitt and Gray paper is a high level summary of database architectures for parallelism, illustrating some of the techniques that can be used to exploit the availability of multiple processors in a database system.

Questions to consider:

  1. What’s the difference between a parallel and a distributed database? What issues are different in one architecture versus the other? In what ways are the two architectures alike?
  2. Why do Dewitt and Gray advocate a shared nothing architecture?
  3. In what ways must existing database architectures be modified to support multi-processor environments? What new data layout issues are introduced? What new query processing challenges must be addressed?
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