In 2009, EPFL professors Anastasia Ailamaki and Babak Falsafi collaborated with their doctoral and postdoctoral students to present Shore-MT, a scalable storage manager for the multicore era. A decade later, Shore-MT continues to be a robust open-source database storage manager preferred by many users worldwide. In recognition of its continued relevance and usage, the original research paper has been honored with the 2019 EDBT Test-of-Time Award.

Initiated in 2014, the Test-of-Time Award from EDBT (Extending Database Technology) is conferred on only one research work each year that is deemed to have had the biggest impact in terms of research, methodology, conceptual contribution, or transfer to practice since it appeared in the proceedings of EDBT.

The recognition of EPFL’s innovative data system Shore-MT is particularly rewarding because it is highly unusual for a systems paper to earn the award. Contrary to the usual winners from the theoretical domain, the paper on Shore-MT deals with “the implementation, the research questions and answers, and the new challenges ahead,” said Professor Ailamaki.

When multicore chips came to the fore years ago, they affected the internal scalability of database management systems (DBMS) optimized for operation with limited cores. Shore-MT was proposed by the EPFL researchers as a robust alternative to other established open-source storage managers such as Shore, BerkeleyDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. In comparison to its peers, Shore-MT exhibits superior scalability and 2-4 times higher absolute throughput.

The 2009 paper, presented at the 12th EDBT conference, not only showed the efficacy of scalability compared to single-thread performance, but also highlighted the principles for writing scalable storage engines with real examples from the development of Shore-MT. The fact that it is still being widely used as a research platform shows that it has truly survived the test of time. As rightly described by the EDBT committee members, the work “has catalyzed and enabled substantial follow-up research and has demonstrated its high relevance to industry.”

The 2009 paper (Shore-MT: A Scalable Storage Manager for The Multicore Era. EDBT 2009: 24-35) was authored by Ryan Johnson, Ippokratis Pandis, Nikos Hardavellas, Anastasia Ailamaki, and Babak Falsafi. This news article recognizes their lasting contribution in terms of methodology, impact, and influence.