TileDB promises faster discoveries for data scientists

Faster discoveries for Data Scientists

A new database designed to help data science teams make faster discoveries by giving them a more powerful way to store, update, analyze, and share large sets of diverse data has been released.

TileDB consists of a new multi-dimensional array data format, a fast, embeddable, open-source C++ storage engine with data science tooling integrations, and a cloud service for easy data management and serverless computations.

The developers say traditional databases aren’t ideal for data science use as they’re not cloud-optimized, while cloud object stores suffer from object immutability, eventual consistency, and IO request limiting. A second problem is that some formats lack sufficient support for efficient data updates. They give the example of updating a Parquet file requiring the creation of a new file, pushing the entire update logic to the userโ€™s higher-level application, and say similar problems arise whenever the update logic is not built into the format and storage engine, but it is rather delegated to higher-level applications.

Finally, the developers cite limited scope as a problem, on the basis that most data science applications require at least two separate file formats to handle both array data and dataframes; multi-dimensional arrays for uses such as linear algebra; and dataframes for OLAP operations.

The team started with the storage layer when creating TileDB, and say it has the only format and storage engine that handles both dense and sparse multi-dimensional arrays. It supports efficient array IO on multiple storage backends, including cloud object stores like AWS S3. It also offers rapid, highly parallel, lock-free, batch updates that are designed to work particularly well on the cloud with immutable objects. All update logic and functionality (like time traveling) is built into the format and storage engine.

TileDB offers a standalone, embeddable C++ library that ships with APIs in C, C++, Python, R, Java and Go, and has direct access to TileDB arrays. The library is integrated with Spark, Dask, PrestoDB, MariaDB, Arrow and geospatial libraries like PDAL, GDAL and Rasterio. TileDB pushes down as much computation as possible to storage, such as filter conditions from the SQL engines and  dataframe computations from Dask and Spark.

Alongside the database is TileDB Cloud, a pay as you use priced service that you can use to share TileDB arrays on the cloud with other users and perform serverless computations on them. Both TileDB and TileDB Cloud are available to try now.

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