A persistent key-value store for fast storage environments

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What is RocksDB?

RocksDB is an embeddable persistent key-value store for fast storage. RocksDB can also be the foundation for a client-server database but our current focus is on embedded workloads.

RocksDB builds on LevelDB to be scalable to run on servers with many CPU cores, to efficiently use fast storage, to support IO-bound, in-memory and write-once workloads, and to be flexible to allow for innovation.

For more background on RocksDB, see Dhruba Borthakur’s introductory talk from the Data @ Scale 2013 conference.

How does performance compare?

We benchmarked LevelDB and found that it was unsuitable for our server workloads. The benchmark results look awesome at first sight, but we quickly realized that those results were for a database whose size was smaller than the size of RAM on the test machine – where the entire database could fit in the OS page cache. When we performed the same benchmarks on a database that was at least 5 times larger than main memory, the performance results were dismal.

By contrast, we’ve published the RocksDB benchmark results for server side workloads on Flash. We also measured the performance of LevelDB on these server-workload benchmarks and found that RocksDB solidly outperforms LevelDB for these IO bound workloads. We found that LevelDB’s single-threaded compaction process was insufficient to drive server workloads. We saw frequent write-stalls with LevelDB that caused 99-percentile latency to be tremendously large. We found that mmap-ing a file into the OS cache introduced performance bottlenecks for reads. We could not make LevelDB consume all the IOs offered by the underlying Flash storage.

What is RocksDB suitable for?

RocksDB can be used by applications that need low latency database accesses. A user-facing application that stores the viewing history and state of users of a website can potentially store this content on RocksDB. A spam detection application that needs fast access to big data sets can use RocksDB. A graph-search query that needs to scan a data set in realtime can use RocksDB. RocksDB can be used to cache data from Hadoop, thereby allowing applications to query Hadoop data in realtime. A message-queue that supports a high number of inserts and deletes can use RocksDB.

Why is RocksDB open sourced?

We are open sourcing this project on GitHub because we think it will be useful beyond Facebook. We are hoping that software programmers and database developers will use, enhance, and customize RocksDB for their use-cases. We would also like to engage with the academic community on topics related to efficiency for modern database algorithms.