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Database Reliability Engineering by Laine Campbell, Charity Majors

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Chapter 10. Data Storage, Indexing, and Replication

We’ve been talking about operations for much of this book in preparation for diving into datastores. The most critical thing every datastore has in common with one another is that they...wait for it...store data. In this chapter, we explain the ways a single node structures its data storage, how large datasets are partitioned, and how nodes replicate data between one another. It’s going to be quite the chapter!

This book’s scope is focused predominantly on reliability and operations, so we will be working on understanding storage and access patterns to facilitate infrastructure choices, to understand performance characteristics, and to make sure that you, as the database reliability engineer (DBRE), have the information required to help engineering teams choose the appropriate datastores for their services. For a much more detailed and nuanced review of this, we strongly suggest that you read Martin Kleppmann’s book Designing Data-Intensive Applications (O’Reilly).

Data Structure Storage

Databases traditionally have stored data in a combination of tables and indexes. A table is the main storage mechanism, and an index is an optimized subset of data ordered to improve access times. With the proliferation of datastores now, this has evolved significantly. Understanding how data is written to and read from storage is crucial to being able to configure and optimize your storage subsystems and databases.

When understanding how a ...

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