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ACID Matters…Even to Apple

March 25, 2015

At Splice Machine, we’re big believers in the importance of ACID transactions for applications.

ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) compliance in database transactions ensures reliable, real-time updates without data loss or corruption – a critical requirement for many applications (e.g., financial, healthcare and security). If you think of the recent announcements from Apple – Apple Pay, HealthKit and Apple Watch – you can connect the dots to why the world’s largest company would be interested in a scalable ACID-compliant database like FoundationDB.

Tuesday’s announcement of Apple acquiring FoundationDB, paired with Apple’s “no comment” on its plans for it, allows us to imagine where Apple can put the technology to work. It could be the affordable, durable scalability needed to run Apple’s rumored TV service, or collect and process the myriad data moving between the Apple Watch and the iPhone. Or, it could be to provide a layer of trust for personalized data from HealthKit and ResearchKit – two groundbreaking services that rely on accurate data. Traditional relational databases offer the ACID transactions that make this possible, but new database platforms like FoundationDB and Splice Machine enable it at the scale companies like Apple need.

Splice Machine provides full ACID transactions across rows and tables. Our lockless snapshot isolation design uses Multiple Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) to create a new version of the record every time it is updated. This supports very high throughput and avoids troublesome locks, key considerations for web, mobile and Internet of Things applications that need to query and ingest data in real-time.

Another common belief that we share with FoundationDB (and now Apple) is that SQL is still the de facto programming language in the enterprise. Companies have applications, tools and employees that work (and work well) with SQL, so why discard the investment for the scalability of a NoSQL solution? With next generation databases like the Splice Machine Hadoop RDBMS, applications can be built on a platform that offers full ANSI SQL support and can scale out on commodity hardware – an attractive combination from Cupertino to Chennai.

If you’re looking to build the next market-changing cloud, mobile or wearable application, perhaps you should take a cue from the market leader and look for ACID transactions in your app database.