Innovations in High Performing, Open-source Database Architectures

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Dell technologies

Today’s IT leaders have a data architecture problem on their hands. While databases swell in size and new applications require ever‑increasing amounts of data, many of today’s applications come with stringent latency requirements. This means operators now need to find ways to move more data in less time to keep pace with the demands of data-hungry applications.

To overcome these issues, IT innovators are looking to accelerate the performance of database infrastructure with server solutions that combine field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), SSDs and DRAM with advanced software. When done right, this combination can yield extreme performance improvements for databases without requiring changes to the existing database software or application architecture.

And that, in a nutshell, is the idea behind a new high-performance open source database reference architecture from Dell Technologies, Intel and rENIAC, maker of a drop-in data accelerator for open source databases. This solution reference architecture promises to significantly improve performance for open‑source NoSQL databases (validated with benchmarking results on Apache Cassandra) while removing the complexity of standing up a new data architecture or migrating to a different database altogether.

Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood in the Dell Technologies High Performance Open Source Database Architecture with rENIAC:

  • The solution is built on the Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 server, along with Dell EMC PowerSwitch networking. The PowerEdge R740 server provides a perfect balance of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® Arria® 10 GX FPGAs, memory and storage.
  • The rENIAC Data Engine (rDE) leverages an intelligently networked combination of FPGAs, DRAM and SSDs to offload the most burdensome operations that traditionally require huge amounts of CPU processing power or cores.
  • The Data Engine can be flexibly deployed as a proxy, cache or storage engine, providing predictable low latency and throughputs much higher than those of a standard database cluster.

Everything comes together in a solution that offer seamless integration and improved database performance, while enabling portability across multiple Intel FPGA platforms and Dell EMC server configurations.

Now here’s the best part. A Dell Technologies reference architecture outlines how to reduce performance bottlenecks on existing databases and evaluates performance advantages. These gains include 10X more efficient performance and 18X lower latency compared to servers without FPGA acceleration. The document also shows how a small number of rENIAC server nodes can handle a volume of requests that may have previously required hundreds of standard database server nodes, while delivering dramatically lower and more deterministic latency.

Ultimately, we’re talking about an acceleration solution that solves many of the bandwidth and latency problems that plague Cassandra and other NoSQL databases. Even better, this is a solution that data center operators can deploy with confidence. The versatile Intel Programmable Acceleration Card with Intel Arria 10 GX FPGA has been thoroughly tested and validated with Dell EMC PowerEdge servers in a solution that provides a solid foundation to run the entire rENIAC stack. This means that data center operators can now easily integrate and deploy a complete database acceleration solution with the peace of mind that comes with highly optimized and fully validated configurations.

To learn more

For a closer look at the reference architecture, see these technical white papers:

And to explore the capabilities of the rENIAC Data Engine, visit

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.