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Title: Efficient query processing in managed runtimes
Author: Nagel, Fabian Oliver
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 2995
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis presents strategies to improve the query evaluation performance over huge volumes of relational-like data that is stored in the memory space of managed applications. Storing and processing application data in the memory space of managed applications is motivated by the convergence of two recent trends in data management. First, dropping DRAM prices have led to memory capacities that allow the entire working set of an application to fit into main memory and to the emergence of in-memory database systems (IMDBs). Second, language-integrated query transparently integrates query processing syntax into programming languages and, therefore, allows complex queries to be composed in the application. IMDBs typically serve as data stores to applications written in an object-oriented language running on a managed runtime. In this thesis, we propose a deeper integration of the two by storing all application data in the memory space of the application and using language-integrated query, combined with query compilation techniques, to provide fast query processing. As a starting point, we look into storing data as runtime-managed objects in collection types provided by the programming language. Queries are formulated using language-integrated query and dynamically compiled to specialized functions that produce the result of the query in a more efficient way by leveraging query compilation techniques similar to those used in modern database systems. We show that the generated query functions significantly improve query processing performance compared to the default execution model for language-integrated query. However, we also identify additional inefficiencies that can only be addressed by processing queries using low-level techniques which cannot be applied to runtime-managed objects. To address this, we introduce a staging phase in the generated code that makes query-relevant managed data accessible to low-level query code. Our experiments in .NET show an improvement in query evaluation performance of up to an order of magnitude over the default language-integrated query implementation. Motivated by additional inefficiencies caused by automatic garbage collection, we introduce a new collection type, the black-box collection. Black-box collections integrate the in-memory storage layer of a relational database system to store data and hide the internal storage layout from the application by employing existing object-relational mapping techniques (hence, the name black-box). Our experiments show that black-box collections provide better query performance than runtime-managed collections by allowing the generated query code to directly access the underlying relational in-memory data store using low-level techniques. Black-box collections also outperform a modern commercial database system. By removing huge volumes of collection data from the managed heap, black-box collections further improve the overall performance and response time of the application and improve the application’s scalability when facing huge volumes of collection data. To enable a deeper integration of the data store with the application, we introduce self-managed collections. Self-managed collections are a new type of collection for managed applications that, in contrast to black-box collections, store objects. As the data elements stored in the collection are objects, they are directly accessible from the application using references which allows for better integration of the data store with the application. Self-managed collections manually manage the memory of objects stored within them in a private heap that is excluded from garbage collection. We introduce a special collection syntax and a novel type-safe manual memory management system for this purpose. As was the case for black-box collections, self-managed collections improve query performance by utilizing a database-inspired data layout and allowing the use of low-level techniques. By also supporting references between collection objects, they outperform black-box collections.
Supervisor: Viglas, Stratis ; Dubach, Christophe ; Biermann, Gavin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: query compilation ; LINQ ; query processing ; C# ; off-heap ; database ; memory management