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Lies, Damn Lies, and Moore’s Law

January 5, 2016, 12:01 am
Posted by Lacy in Performance
Lies, Damn Lies, and Moore’s Law

By Scott Hayes, President and Founder, DBI Software

Why is your computer so slow - still? Why does your database crawl and grind? Why does that spinning wheel (or ring) still spin? Read further to learn the truth about where speed really comes from.

Moore’s Law was made for engineers - and publicists.

Coined by Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, he predicted in 1965 that chip makers would double the amount of transistors into the same area of silicon every year. According to The Wall Street Journal, Intel now says it is closer to every 2.5 years.1 This increase has allowed our computers to become more powerful - and less expensive, all at the same time.

So why is your computer so slow - still? Why does your database crawl and grind? Why does that spinning wheel (or ring) still spin? After all, you’ve got a bunch of memory and the latest (or close-to-latest) hardware. The answer, according to a provocative article by IBM’s Sam Lightstone, is that disks are 150 times slower than they were in 1985. Remember the 80’s? Big hair, shoulder pads, and faster disks - 150 times faster actually.

It sounds ludicrous, but here’s what Lightstone observes:

  • We’re swimming in a sea of cheap plentiful random access storage - whether it is HDDs, SSDs, RAM or the emerging Storage Class Memory technologies.
  • Immense capital expenditures are needed for the associated RAM and CPUs to examine this data and derive useful information.
  • Over the past 30 years disk drives have very impressively increased their capacity by 10,000 times, but I/O transfer rates by only 65 times.
  • Although disk speed is now 65 times faster, they individually hold 10,000 times more data, so the time required to access the content of the disk is actually 150 times slower than it was 30 years ago.2

DBI Software is in the database business - making IBM DB2 LUW databases blaze for a who’s who of industry leaders in business, accounting, hospitality, insurance, entertainment, retail, and securities. When a database slows, the first (and second, and third) instinct of a company is to throw more memory and CPUs at the problem. But, as Lightstone notes, this brute force strategy just can’t close the gap. And, it’s crazy expensive.

So what can close the gap? A smart indexing strategy that allows your database to find the right information fast without having to rifle through scads of non-relevant information.
That’s what DBI’s patented, award winning software does - it figures out what costs the most (in terms of taxing your database), what hurts the most, and empowers teams to tune their indices in just a couple of hours. And, we do this for a fraction of the cost of trying to solve problems by buying hardware, software, or memory.

In today’s world where CPUs are choking on vast quantities of data, speed doesn’t come from more memory or CPUs, it comes from the smart use of indices.

What You Must Know
You need smarter indices - not faster CPUs - or your database to give you the winning edge.

If your IBM DB2 LUW database isn’t keeping up with performance demands, or if you’ve just been handed an emergency purchase request for CPUs and memory - or you want to prevent this from happening in the first place - contact us. We’ll diagnose any database problems for free in about 15 seconds, solve a real root-cause problem in two hours or less, and save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in CPU’s, memory, licenses, consulting fees, and wasted time. Frankly, we’re not very popular with hardware and database license vendors, but your CFO, shareholders, and customers will love us.

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