Very Large Database (VLDB)

While there is apparently no official or standard definition for the term Very Large Database (VLDB), it is sometimes used to describe databases occupying magnetic storage in the terabyte range and containing billions of table rows.

While there is apparently no official or standard definition for the term Very Large Database (VLDB), it is sometimes used to describe databases occupying magnetic storage in the terabyte range and containing billions of table rows. Typically, these are decision support systems or transaction processing applications serving large numbers of users.

The Winter Corporation, a consulting firm that specializes in large-scale databases, data warehousing, and strategic information management, conducts a yearly survey of large corporations and then announces winners in a number of VLDB categories. In 1997, the largest database was Knight Ridder's DIALOG, a text database, with 7 terabytes (seven thousand gigabytes) of storage. Replications of databases present in redundant array of independent disks (RAID) systems and mirror sites were discounted in the survey.

Our table summarizes their results for 1997:

 

Category Winner Application Type Company Type of System
Largest decision support system database:
7 terabytes
Text search (DIALOG) Knight Ridder Information Proprietary system and Hitachi Data Systems hardware
Largest transaction database:
3.5 terabytes
Package transit and delivery tracking United Parcel Service IBM DB2 database and IBM System/390 mainframe
Largest decision support UNIX database
2.4 terabytes
Decision support Wal-Mart Stores NCR Teradata DBMS and NCR Worldmark
Largest transaction processing database on a UNIX system:
750 gigabytes
Credit card, accounting and loan, and customer information services Shin Han Bank Informix XPS DBMS software and Hewlett-Packard 9000 hardware
Most rows in a database on a traditional platform:
100 billion rows
Text search (DIALOG) Knight Ridder Information Proprietary system and Hitachi Data Systems hardware
Most rows in a transaction processing database on a traditional platform:
50 billion rows
Customer billing system Telstra IBM DB2 database and IBM System/390 9021 processors
Most concurrent users in a traditional operating system:
2,500 users
Decision support K-Mart Corporation NCR Teradata DBMS and a system 3600
Most concurrent users in a UNIX database:
650 users
Decision support Wal-Mart Stores NCR Teradata DBMS and NCR Worldmark
Largest federated database (databases that contain independently operated databases that own their own data):
822 gigabytes
Audit trail for retail financial transactions National Processing Company Oracle on a Sun SPARC, HP 9000, and IBM RS/6000 servers

The results of the latest survey can be seen at the Winter Corporation's Web site.

This was first published in April 2005

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