The approach is not really new: To avoid disk access and improve performance, load all of your data into memory. I remember the cool feature called “RAM disks” on an Apple][ when I went to school.
A newer and much more sophisticated version of this approach was introduces yesterday at the Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. In his Sunday Keynote, Larry Ellison presented the new Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine. All your data can be loaded into memory, and you never have to think about response time anymore in your Business Intelligence applications.
Photo: Daniel Steiger – see his blog
The machine contains 1TB RAM and is preconfigured with Oracle BI Server, Essbase and Times Ten in Memory database. Because all data is compressed, much more than “only” one terabyte of data can be used, as we learned in a nice presentation from Larry about basics mathematics. Probably, this new machine could change the physical design for many Data Marts in large Data Warehouse environments. Forget about bitmap indexes and star transformation – just load all your data mart into the memory.
For more details about the Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine have a look at the new Oracle White Paper.