6.830 | Fall 2010 | Graduate, Undergraduate

Database Systems


Lecture 19: NOSQL


Chang, Fay, et al. “Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data.” OSDI, 2006. (PDF)

Bigtable is a storage system for structured data; it is essentially a compressed, horizontally partitioned, column-oriented database with some interesting properties that allow it to reach “web scale”.

As you read the paper, consider the following questions:

  1. In what ways does Bigtable replicate the behavior of a relational database? How is it different?
  2. Could Google have built Bigtable using a relational system? Would that have been a good idea? Why or why not?
  3. What consistency guarantees does Bigtable provide in the face of failures?
  4. What is a distributed lock service?
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