General overview. MonetDB belongs to the class of database management systems designed primarilly for datawarehouse environments. They are characterised by large repositories, which are mostly queried for business intelligence decisions. They also appear frequently in the area of science, where observations are collected into a warehouse for subsequent scientific analysis. The design is focussed on bulk processing wherever possible. Aimed at maximal efficient use of the hardware for large scale processing. This design objective is reflected at all levels of the architecture and the functionality offered to the user. Although MonetDB/SQL provides a full-fledged SQL interface, it has not been tuned towards high-volume transaction processing with its accompanying multi-level ACID properties.
SQL front-end. The storage layer combined with the MAL algebra provides a flexible architecture to accomodate a wide variety of query languages. The relational front-end decomposes tables by column with a dense (non-stored) OID head, and a tail column with values. For each relational table, a column with deleted positions is kept. Deltas are designed to delay updates to the main columns, and allow a relatively cheap snapshot isolation mechanism. MonetDB/SQL also maintains additional join indices to speed-up foreign key join predicates; and value indices are created on-the-fly.