Terark – A Company that Makes Cloud 200x Faster?

With infrastructure and technology in place, the next frontier that companies are aiming for is speed.  Terark, a Chinese company believes that it has the secret to make cloud 200x faster than its existing speed.

Is it true?

Apparently yes. Terark has developed algorithms that compress data to help databases run 200x faster than their existing speeds. This translates roughly to one Terark database doing the job of five servers running existing industry standard databases.

The inventor of this algorithm, Lei Peng, is also the CTO of Terark. According to him, existing databases store their data in blocks and each block has an index associated with it. To retrieve data, a search has to be made through the indices and the corresponding block has to be retrieved. To do this, these blocks of data have to be compressed and decompressed, and this puts a huge workload on existing servers.

Terark’s algorithm addresses this limitation by using a method called Nested Succint Trie that can index 100% of the data. For comparison, current systems index only one percent of the data.

This way, blocks don’t have to be compressed, decompressed and retrieved, rather they can be read into directly. Compression still happens,  but at the global level, so the query speeds are much faster than before.

An analogy for this method is the library. Let’s say a library has different sections such as art and gardening and each section has hundreds of books. Each of these books have their own index, mostly likely as the first page.

When you want a book, the librarian will direct you to the appropriate section, but you’ll have to go through each book’s contents to find the information you want. That’s the existing system.

With Terark, the index pages of all the books are stored in a single database, which means, you can simply search through the index to find the book you want. It’s almost like putting your entire library on Google and searching through it, according to Remy Trichard, the VP of Terark.

Such an innovative approach has definitely caught the attention of big players in the cloud market. Already, this company has entered into a $1 million contract with Alibaba Cloud.  Under the terms of this contract, the Alibaba will give its clients the choice to switch their databases to TerarkDB to get faster speeds during search. Though the pricing structure is not still clear, Alibaba claims that its customers can save a ton of time and money by switching to TerarkDB.

Undoubtedly, this is a big deal for Terark and inspired by the success of its model, it is looking to move beyond the Chinese shores. In fact, it is looking to expand into European and American markets to scour for potential clients and to help them understand this new technology.

That said, this company is not looking to expand their offices beyond China, at least not for now. There are only ten employees now, but it already has six patents. It’ll be interesting to see how this company moves forward in the coming months.

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