Choosing a cloud DBMS: Architectures and tradeoffs

Junjay Tan, Thanaa Ghanem, Matthew Perron, Xiangyao Yu, Michael Stonebraker, David DeWitt, Marco Serafini, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Tim Kraska

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


As analytic (OLAP) applications move to the cloud, DBMSs have shifted from employing a pure shared-nothing design with locally attached storage to a hybrid design that combines the use of shared-storage (e.g., AWS S3) with the use of shared-nothing query execution mechanisms. This paper sheds light on the resulting tradeoffs, which have not been properly identified in previous work. To this end, it evaluates the TPC-H benchmark across a variety of DBMS offerings running in a cloud environment (AWS) on fast 10Gb+ networks, specifically database-as-a-service offerings (Redshift, Athena), query engines (Presto, Hive), and a traditional cloud agnostic OLAP database (Vertica). While these comparisons cannot be apples-to-apples in all cases due to cloud configuration restrictions, we nonetheless identify patterns and design choices that are advantageous. These include prioritizing low-cost object stores like S3 for data storage, using system agnostic yet still performant columnar formats like ORC that allow easy switching to other systems for different workloads, and making features that benefit subsequent runs like query precompilation and caching remote data to faster storage optional rather than required because they disadvantage ad hoc queries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2170-2182
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the VLDB Endowment
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event45th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, VLDB 2019 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: 26 Aug 201730 Aug 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science(all)

Cite this

Tan, J., Ghanem, T., Perron, M., Yu, X., Stonebraker, M., DeWitt, D., Serafini, M., Aboulnaga, A., & Kraska, T. (2018). Choosing a cloud DBMS: Architectures and tradeoffs. Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment, 12(12), 2170-2182.