CIDR 2007
Conference paper

Impliance: A next generation information management appliance


Though database technology has been remarkably successful in building a large market and adapting to the changes of the last three decades, its impact on the broader market of information management is surprisingly limited. If we were to design an information management system from scratch, based upon today's requirements and hardware capabilities, would it look anything like today's database systems? In this paper, we introduce Impliance, a next-generation information management system consisting of hardware and software components integrated to form an easy-to-administer appliance that can store, retrieve, and analyze all types of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured information. We first summarize the trends that will shape information management for the foreseeable future. Those trends imply three major requirements for Impliance: (1) to be able to store, manage, and uniformly query and transform all data, not just structured records; (2) to be able to scale out as the volume of this data grows; and (3) to be simple and robust in operation. We then describe four key ideas that are uniquely combined in Impliance to address these requirements, namely the ideas of: (a) integrating software and off-the-shelf hardware into a generic information appliance; (b) automatically discovering, organizing, and managing all data - unstructured as well as structured - in a uniform way; (c) achieving scale-out by exploiting simple, massive parallel processing, and (d) virtualizing compute and storage resources to unify, simplify, and streamline the management of Impliance. Impliance is an ambitious, long-term effort to define simpler, more robust, and more scalable information systems for tomorrow's enterprises.