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Protobase: It's About Time for Backend/Database Co-Design


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Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn


In this interactive demonstration, we show the current state of Protobase, our main-memory analytic document store that is designed from scratch to enable rapid prototyping of efficient microservices that perform analytics and explorations on (third-party) JSON-like documents stored in a novel columnar binary-encoded format, called the Cabin file format. In contrast to other solutions, our database system exposes neither a particular query language, nor a fixed REST API to its clients. Instead, the entire user-defined backend logic, whose user code is written in Python, is placed inside a sandbox that runs in the systems process. Protobase in turn exposes a user-defined REST API that the (frontend) application interacts with. Thus, our system acts as a backend server while at the same time avoids full exposure of its database to the clients. Consequently, a Protobase instance (database + user code + REST API) serves as (the entire) microservice -potentially minimizing the number of systems running in a typical analytic software stack. In terms of execution performance, Protobase therefore takes the inter-process communication overhead between backend and database system out of the picture and heavily utilizes columnar binary document storage to scale-up for analytic queries. Both features lead to a notable performance gain for non-trivial services, potentially minimizing the number of required nodes in a cloud setting, too. In our demo, we overview Protobases internals, spot major design decisions, and show how to prototype a scholarly search engine managing the Microsoft Academic Graph, a real-world scientific paper graph of roughly 154 mio. Documents.


Pinnecke, Marcus; Campero, Gabriel; Zoun, Roman; Broneske, David; Saake, Gunter (2019): Protobase: It's About Time for Backend/Database Co-Design. BTW 2019. DOI: 10.18420/btw2019-35. Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn. PISSN: 1617-5468. ISBN: 978-3-88579-683-1. pp. 515-518. Demonstrationen. Rostock. 4.-8. März 2019