PIQL: Success-Tolerant Query Processing in the Cloud

Newly-released web applications often succumb to a “Success Disaster,” where overloaded database machines and resulting high response times destroy a previously good user experience.
Unfortunately, the data independence provided by a traditional relational database system, while useful for agile development, only exacerbates the problem by hiding potentially expensive queries under simple declarative expressions.
As a result, developers of these applications are increasingly abandoning relational databases in favor of imperative code written against distributed key/value stores, losing the many benefits of data independence in the process.
Instead, we propose PIQL, a declarative language that also provides scale independence by calculating an upper bound on the number of key/value store operations that will be performed for any query.
Coupled with a service level objective (SLO) compliance prediction model and PIQL’s scalable database architecture, these bounds make it easy for developers to write success-tolerant applications that support an arbitrarily large number of users while still providing acceptable performance.
In this paper, we present the PIQL query processing system and evaluate its scale independence on hundreds of machines using two benchmarks, TPC-W and SCADr.