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I did something like that - LSM backend for OO-relational DBMS (inhouse).

I also hoped for big win on the insertion-heavy loads, and I also haven't succeed in that. The problem is that every insert statement must read back something from DB to verify DB state against schema for correctness. As reads in LSM are slower, the net win is either absent or negligible. I have to say I wrote "must" in sentence above because you sometimes can get away without reading back, but not always. In the end, worst case scenario is always "read and write", not just "write".

But!

I devised a scheme to lay out layers' data so that they are as contiguous as they can be. Or get a very good approximation to that contiguousness, basically (O(1) "pages" per level). Thus contiguous reads got very high performance and beat old storage on read scheme, despite the need of level merging, etc.




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