[odb-users] Performance and another question

Boris Kolpackov boris at codesynthesis.com
Tue Jun 2 05:57:19 EDT 2015

Hi Andrew,

Andrew Cunningham <andrew at a-cunningham.com> writes:

> I am evaluating ODB as a replacement for an 'abandon-ware' commercial OODB.
> I have a question regarding performance that other ODB users might be able
> to help with
> If we were looking for the best performance when working with lots of data
> for a single user ( single process/multiple threads) on a Windows
> workstation what would you suggest as the best SQL DB option ( i.e. SQLIte
> vs MySQL vs. Postgres etc)
> Obviously I think that most people would suggest SQLite as you are writing
> ‘in process’ with no external communication to a server process. However,
> when working with our existing OODB vendor we got much suprisingly better
> performance from using a 'local' server vs. ‘in-process” as the server
> process could perform disk operations without blocking the client process.
> The server client communication was over shared memory not network sockets
> when both were on a local machine.

This is actually an interesting question. Firstly, if you have a
single process/single thread setup then SQLite will beat everything
else hands down, by a very large margin.

Now, when we move to the multi-threaded case, things get tricky.
SQLite multi-threading support is really poor, especially the
"write" side of it. So if you have a lot of threads and they are
write-heavy (in other words, the worst kind of scenario), then
SQLite starts to suffer, badly. For example, we have the 'threads'
test in odb-tests which is this kind, write-heavy torture test.
PostgreSQL (and recent MySQL) absolutely smoke SQLite if the
machine has a decent number of cores (say 8 or more).

So this is the spectrum. And the answer to your question depends
on where on this spectrum is your application. The best approach,
of course, is to create a test that mimics your application's
workload and see how each database performs. Luckily, with ODB,
it will be very easy to write a simple test that you can run
against every database.

> One more question: What would people recommend for modeling a ‘graph’ as a
> persistent data type in odb. I use boost::graph  currently. I am trying to
> think of a way to do it in ODB is not too awfully slow/clumsy/messy. Just
> wondering if it has been done before.

When mapping a C++ class to a database class in ODB, there are
generally three ways to do it:

1. Map it to a corresponding database type (e.g., if your target
   database supported the graph data type or something similar).

2. Map it to some kind of a "database data structure", i.e.,
   one or more columns and/or tables that capture the data
   in a suitable form.

   In your case, for example, this could mean having column(s)
   that contain containers (in PG) that represents the graph.
   Or, perhaps, it makes sense to map it as a container. See,
   for instance, how we mapped the Boost multi-index container
   in the libodb-boost profile.

3. Map it to an opaque data structure, i.e., a BLOB. In this
   case you simply store some binary representation of your
   data structure.

Which way is best depends on your requirements. (1) is of
course the cleanest but I don't think there are build-in
graph types supported by the databases we are talking about.
I guess, one way to approach is to ask yourself how would
you persist your graphs in a text file. Then try to model
this format using (2). I unfortunately not familiar enough
with the way these two graph types store their internal
representations so cannot really suggest which way is best.

But if you can outline what would be a good "on disk"
representation, I could suggest how to map it to the


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