Home > SQL Server > Hekaton Recap – SQL Server OLTP In-Memory Technology – SQL Server 2014

Hekaton Recap – SQL Server OLTP In-Memory Technology – SQL Server 2014


Hekaton is the code name for a new in-Memory transaction process technology implemented by Microsoft. It is also a part of Microsoft’s xVelocity family. This technology is a row-based technology fully focused on transaction processing (TP) workloads. Just for reference, Columnstore index is a column-wise data storage that helps SQL engine to process data at high-speed. You can learn more about it in here.

Hekaton means a Greek number 100. In Greek (hekaton = “hundred”). So, we can expect 100x performance improvement in our application. But, in real world scenario the performance of an application is based of various factor. Hekaton case study video is a pleasure to watch.

Hekaton will be included in the next major release of Microsoft SQL Server. It may be available in the year 2013 or 2014 and this is just my prediction. But for now, TAP (Technology Adoption Partners) are using this technology to check the performance of their application with real data and it has proved that they gained huge performance improvement. Case study shows that some customers have gained 5x to 50x performance improvement.

Even though it is a new capability to SQL Server, we can use this feature in our existing application as is and we may need to tell the SQL Server to use some tables and stored procedures as in-memory objects and the rest will be managed by SQL Server itself.

The 4 architectural principles of  “Hekaton” are

1.  main memory data access – It retains hot data in a main memory buffer pool based upon access frequency.

2. business logic processing – Business logic such as queries and procedural logic in T-SQL stored procedures are compiled into machine code and it will be executed at the speed of native code.

3. scale-up – it implements a highly scalable concurrency control mechanism and uses a series of lock-free data structures to eliminate locks and latches and maintain data consistency.

4. Built-in to SQL Server – It is a new capability of SQL Server. So, no additional setup is required. Transaction Processing system for in-memory technology uses hotter tables and stored procedures as part of Hekaton and the cooler data and processing continue to be handled by the rest of SQL Server.

Microsoft will provide an analysis tool to identify the hot tables and stored procedures in the SQL Server.

This technology was first announced in PASS 2012 summit. And, this was one of the most attractive technology from Microsoft this year.

I have been showing much interest in this technology since the announcement and I have some links for my reference that I am going to sharing it with you now.  These links contain more information about Hekaton and it worth reading.

Computer World  – Nov 7, 2012

SQL Server Blog – Nov 8, 2012

SQL Server Blog – Nov 11, 2012

Microsoft Research – Dec 20, 2012

OLTP In-Memory (Codename Hekaton) White paper – SQL Server 2014 CTP 1 – June, 2013

Concepts involved in Hekaton

Highly scalable concurrency control mechanism

Lock free data structures

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