Micro-architectural analysis of in-memory OLTP: Revisited

Utku Sirin, Pinar Tözün, Danica Porobic, Ahmad Yasin, Anastasia Ailamaki

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Micro-architectural behavior of traditional disk-based online transaction processing (OLTP) systems has been investigated extensively over the past couple of decades. Results show that traditional OLTP systems mostly under-utilize the available micro-architectural resources. In-memory OLTP systems, on the other hand, process all the data in main-memory and, therefore, can omit the buffer pool. Furthermore, they usually adopt more lightweight concurrency control mechanisms, cache-conscious data structures, and cleaner codebases since they are usually designed from scratch. Hence, we expect significant differences in micro-architectural behavior when running OLTP on platforms optimized for in-memory processing as opposed to disk-based database systems. In particular, we expect that in-memory systems exploit micro-architectural features such as instruction and data caches significantly better than disk-based systems. This paper sheds light on the micro-architectural behavior of in-memory database systems by analyzing and contrasting it to the behavior of disk-based systems when running OLTP workloads. The results show that, despite all the design changes, in-memory OLTP exhibits very similar micro-architectural behavior to disk-based OLTP: more than half of the execution time goes to memory stalls where instruction cache misses or the long-latency data misses from the last-level cache (LLC) are the dominant factors in the overall execution time. Even though ground-up designed in-memory systems can eliminate the instruction cache misses, the reduction in instruction stalls amplifies the impact of LLC data misses. As a result, only 30% of the CPU cycles are used to retire instructions, and 70% of the CPU cycles are wasted to stalls for both traditional disk-based and new generation in-memory OLTP.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe VLDB Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)641-665
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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