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By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-04-22 Print this article Print

Chip Nickolett, president of Comprehensive Consulting Solutions Inc., in Milwaukee, said that the time for an evolutionary leap in memory is now. "Its been the case of software not keeping up," he said. "In the past there hasnt been a great need. If somebody had a 20- or 30-gigabyte database, that was big. Now thats common—were seeing 100-gigabyte-plus databases, and I expect that trend to continue."

Ingres has also acquired utilities that allow memory to be automatically flushed from cache onto disk—a capability that Nickolett deemed a very big deal. "It now does a fast commit. Its faster and doesnt force the user to write down the modification to disk twice," he said. "Its a very big deal. … Youll have more cache and be able to access it quicker. You may be only able to have a couple gig data cache, but with larger memory models, you could have 40 or 50 gigabytes in memory and be able to access it quicker."

For its part, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is expected to announce on Thursday support for 64-bit in SQL Server 2000. Users are grudgingly eager to try it out, saying theyve been waiting for it a rather long time.

"The move to a 64-bit architecture is a great one—even though its been far too long in coming," said Steve Foote, a consultant with Enswers Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. "The code needed to be what is known as quad-word aligned in order to take full advantage of the 64-bit architecture benefits. Without quad-word aligning the code, it was only going to perform like it was running on a 32-bit chip."

Foote said that SQL Server customers running query-intensive applications—lots of searching and sorting of data—will see the most benefit, since activities like searching—especially searching via indexes—and sorting of data will run "substantially faster."

The only exception to that is for those applications that do a lot of full table scans, Foote said—queries that read literally every record in a table. Such queries are slowed by the need to constantly go back down to the physical disks to retrieve all the data.

But applications that are transaction-intensive will not see significant improvements, he said, since theyll still be slowed down by the need to write to physical disks.

For its part, IBM partnered with AMD and SuSE Linux to become the first large database vendor to deliver support for Opteron, delivering a beta for DB2 for Linux on Opteron in mid-April. The beta is available on IBMs site.

By summer, DB2 will support SuSE Linux and Opteron in clustered environments of between two- to 1,000-node Linux clusters at customer sites in the industries of finance, retail, oil and gas, and life sciences, according to IBM officials.

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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