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by Burleson Consulting

The Data Warehouse Development Life Cycle

Parallelism And Oracle Data Warehousing
Parallel Processing
For the most part, parallelism is an issue of scale--not of speed, per se. Some think that if a linear process can solve a problem in one hour, then a parallel system with 60 processors should be able to solve the problem in one minute. This is analogous to stating that because it takes nine months to have a baby, then nine women should be able to produce a baby in one month. Clearly, while there are many separate processes in having a baby (zygote, fetus, infant), each of these tasks requires the completion of the previous task. Traditional linear systems (systems in which one process may not begin until the preceding one ends) will not benefit from parallel processing.

On the other hand, parallel processing can return enormous benefits for large databases that are not designed as traditional linear systems. In other words, a query against a very large database can be dramatically improved if the data is partitioned and, simultaneously, each partitioned is accessed by a process. For example, if a query against a text database takes one minute to scan a terabyte, the partitioning of the data and processing into 60 pieces will result in a retrieval time of one second. There is also the issue of balancing the CPU processing with the I/O processing. In a traditional data processing environment, the systems are not computationally intensive, and most of the elapsed time is spent waiting on I/O. However, this does not automatically exclude business systems from taking advantage of multiprocessing.

Parallelism is especially effective in scientific applications that can benefit from having hundreds or even thousands of processors working together to solve a problem. Basically, parallelism can dramatically reduce the response time for any query that can be split into sub-queries and each sub-query assigned to a processor (see Figure 7.2).

Figure 7.2 Speed reduction with parallel processors.

This is an excerpt from "High Performance Data Warehousing". To learn more about Oracle, try "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", by Donald K. Burleson.  You can buy it direct from the publisher at 30% off here:


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