US20150142844A1 - Scalable objects for use in an on-demand services environment - Google Patents

Scalable objects for use in an on-demand services environment Download PDF

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US20150142844A1
US20150142844A1 US14/542,338 US201414542338A US2015142844A1 US 20150142844 A1 US20150142844 A1 US 20150142844A1 US 201414542338 A US201414542338 A US 201414542338A US 2015142844 A1 US2015142844 A1 US 2015142844A1
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relational database
database
non
data
environment
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US14/542,338
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Jonathan Mark Bruce
Eli Levine
Simon Toens
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salesforce com Inc
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salesforce com Inc
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Priority to US14/542,338 priority patent/US20150142844A1/en
Assigned to SALESFORCE.COM, INC. reassignment SALESFORCE.COM, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BRUCE, JONATHAN MARK, LEVINE, ELI, TOENS, SIMON
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Abstract

Techniques and mechanisms to manage data. A relational database environment having at least a relational database storage device is coupled with a server entity. Data stored in the relational database is stored in a custom object, which is one or more custom database tables that allow a customer/tenant/organization to store information unique to the customer/tenant/organization. A non-relational database environment having at least a non-relational database storage device is also coupled with the server entity. Data stored in the non-relational database is immutable. A single user interface and search language is utilized by the server entity to provide access to both the relational database environment and the non-relational database environment.

Description

    CLAIM OF PRIORITY
  • This application is related to, and claims priority to, provisional utility application No. 61/904,822 entitled “SCALABLE OBJECTS,” filed on Nov. 15, 2013, and having attorney docket No. 1362PROV; provisional utility application No. 61/904,826 entitled “MULTI-TENANCY FOR A NOSQL DATABASE,” filed Nov. 15, 2013, and having attorney docket No. 1363PROV; provisional utility application No. 61/905,439 entitled “BIG OBJECTS,” filed Nov. 18, 2013, and having attorney docket No. 1364PROV; provisional utility application No. 61/905,457 entitled “ORCHESTRATION BETWEEN TWO MULTI-TENANT DATABASES,” filed Nov. 18, 2013, and having attorney docket No. 1365PROV; and provisional utility application No. 61/905,460 entitled “FIELD HISTORY RETENTION,” filed Nov. 18, 2013, and having attorney docket No. 1366PROV, the entire contents of which are all incorporated herein by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • Embodiments relate to database management. More specifically, embodiments relate to providing services from both a relational database environment and a non-relational database environment.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Any subject matter discussed in the background section should not be assumed to be prior art merely as a result of its mention in the background section. Similarly, a problem mentioned in the background section or associated with the subject matter of the background section should not be assumed to have been previously recognized in the prior art. The subject matter in the background section merely represents different approaches, which in and of themselves may also correspond to implementations of the claimed inventions.
  • As service providers grow (in terms of numbers of customers and/or amount of customer data), data retention and management becomes more complex. With that growth comes the significant challenge of how to effectively and efficiently represent the increased volume of data. Object models and semantics that work at one level may not be effective with this growth. While the service provider is pushed to provide more suitable storage and/or semantics, customers want to continue to work within the same data model, platform and/or data accessibility.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of one embodiment of an architecture that may provide big objects as described herein.
  • FIG. 2 is an interaction diagram of one embodiment of a technique for querying a non-relational (NoSQL) database using relational database (SQL) commands.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an environment where an on-demand database service might be used.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of an environment where an on-demand database service might be provided.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth. However, embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known circuits, structures and techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the understanding of this description.
  • For some on-demand services environments significant portions of data storage requirements can be used without using a relational database. However, a relational database may be needed for some data and/or may have been the basis for data when the services started. Data that does not require the relational database can be, for example, data that does not change over time, thus not requiring the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties of the relational database. In one embodiment, a new object type (sometimes referred to herein as a “big” object) is provide that can “unhook” customers/tenants/organizations from these constraints when it is desirable and/or appropriate to do so.
  • In one embodiment, a system provides declarative and programmatic ways to construct and use these big objects. In one embodiment, the system can operate to create custom objects within the bounds of a relational database, such as an Oracle® database, and replumbing it to a higher scale. Custom objects are custom database tables that allow a user to store information unique to their organization. In one embodiment, the system creates objects through the Salesforce (SFDC) metadata application programming interface (API) and, yet, data goes to a non-relational (e.g., NoSQL) database, such as HBase instead. The NoSQL database can, in some instances, hold more information that is addressable from the SFDC platform. Similarly, in one implementation, all the standard features of Salesforce work with both the relational database and the non-relational database.
  • For a typical application of the big objects as described herein, a customer/client/tenant will have a large volume of data to be stored, the data is historical in nature (can be considered immutable) and access to the data can be controlled by simple accessibility rules, and native platform sharing is not required. Use of the big objects as described herein can be accomplished with different types of data as well.
  • The techniques herein allow customers/tenants/organizations to be unleashed from data limits that could interfere with application effectiveness. The Big Object feature set asserts a differentiating primitive—it allows customers/tenants/organizations to think at scale from the inception of their data, but also that these objects are conceived and used independent of the functional expectations and feature set of traditional base platform and custom objects.
  • In one embodiment, the big objects utilize frameworks such as the the Metadata API from salesforce to push data to a NoSQL database such as HBase where vast amounts of data can quickly be analyzed, yet the system still provides the same functionality as a SQL server, in terms of allowing queries and other features to be implemented on the data. In one embodiment, the following behavior is assumed when utilizing big objects.
  • Once created and populated, a big object, the data, in one implementation, is immutable—it cannot change its current form. Yet, the data has full API and SOQL access from the platform. Data immutability can force a consciousness on users to take a more prescriptive look on the data they have on the platform, which objects contain data that needs to change on a frequent basis, and which data does not need to change.
  • In one embodiment, data mutations utilize a copy. In one embodiment, should any change in the data be required, the system can generate a superset or subset of data from one or more big objects. Customers/tenants/organizations are free to create as many big objects of any size as they need.
  • Rather than having customers/tenants/organizations restrain their thinking as to how much data should or could have on a platform, the system (by utilizing big objects) eliminates many boundaries to this thinking. By allowing customers/tenants/organizations to operate in terms of the how valuable this data is to them on a time basis, this allows for a good fit with immutable data—therefore the system allows the customer/tenant/organization to define the importance of their data based on how long they want to keep it.
  • In one embodiment, creating big objects can be available via typical user interface techniques, for example, using the custom object wizard experience, customers are free to define the full range field types, but with no limits to how many fields they define, or the data types they can use. In one embodiment, big objects, when created, are typically empty, and they can be populated with data from, for example, the current CRM database from the following sources: by creating clones of BPOs or custom objects, and/or by mapping fields from BPOs/custom object to a new big objects, and orchestrating data across with a timeline or other criteria. Big objects can also be populated from third-party sources, for example, via structured Data Ingest using our Bulk API and/or Data Loader where very large third-party data that is structured can be mapped to one or more big objects.
  • In one embodiment, data that is encapsulated by a big object may by definition not be sharable. In one embodiment, establishing and maintaining visibility to this data is controlled using a set of reference and custom permission sets. In one embodiment, data in an big object is by definition is immutable, so features that rely on a material data change to function may by definition be unavailable to big objects.
  • One aspect of big objects is that the mechanism allows platform to manage large amounts of data, and provide the associated capabilities with these objects without data storage costs or scale being a consideration for the customer. Instead, the anticipated model may focus more on which objects are more important to retain for longer—on a per big object basis a customer may be able to set a retention policy that governs how long this data must be stored.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of one embodiment of an architecture that may provide big objects as described herein. In one embodiment, client devices are used by one or more users to access services from a service provider. The service provided can be, for example, an on-demand services environment, a multitenant database environment, or any other type of service provider.
  • Client devices 110 and 115 operate to allow a user to access remote services provided by service provider 140 via network 130. Client devices 110 can be, for example, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, smart phones, thin clients, etc. Network 130 can be any network, for example, the Internet, a corporate local area network or wide area network, a cellular network, and/or any combination thereof.
  • Service provider 140 can be any number of servers and/or other devices that operate to provide services to one or more client devices. In one embodiment, service provider 140 operates with one or more relational databases (e.g., 150) and one or more non-relational databases (e.g., 160). Service provider 140 operates using relational database 150 and non-relational database 160 as described above.
  • In one embodiment, service provider 140 is an on-demand services environment with multiple client organizations that provides different and/or different levels of services to the client organizations. For example, service provider 140 can be a multitenant database environment that provides custom interfaces and data isolation to the different client organizations. In the example, multitenant database environment, the utilization of relational database 150 and non-relational database 160 can be on an organization-by-organization basis with different parameters and/or conditions for different organizations.
  • In one embodiment, service provider 140 operates using relational database 150 to provide custom objects, which are custom database tables that allow a customer/tenant/organization to store information unique to the customer/tenant/organization. For example, an organization may create a custom object called “Quotes” to store data for the organization's sales quotes. The custom object can be used to, for example, create custom fields, associate the custom object with other records and display the custom object data in custom related lists, track tasks and events for custom object records, build page layouts, customize search results and the custom object fields that display them, create reports and dashboards to analyze custom object data, import custom object records.
  • In one embodiment, service provider 140 operates using non-relational database 160 to provide big objects as described above. The big objects can provide most or nearly all of the functionality of a custom object with increased scalability because non-relational database 160 can provide better scalability than relational database 150.
  • FIG. 2 is an interaction diagram of one embodiment of a technique for querying a non-relational (NoSQL) database using relational database (SQL) commands. In one embodiment, the technique of FIG. 2 is performed within a multitenant database environment.
  • SQL interface 210 is any type of interface/client device that can be used to receive SQL commands and provide results form the SQL commands. For example, SQL interface 210 can be a SQL application running on a client computing device. SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220 provides the functionality described herein. SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220 may be a centralized single agent or can be distributed over multiple entities. Non-relational database 230 can be any type of non-relational database, for example, HBase.
  • In response to receiving at least one SQL command representing a query, SQL interface 210 sends the query, 250, to SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220. In response to receiving the SQL command, SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220 parses the query, 252. SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220 then compiles a query, which can include retrieving metadata, 254, from non-relational database 230. The query plan can be optimized, 256. In one embodiment the SQL query is transformed into one or more scans that are relatively simple, for example, with no joins, basic filtering and/or simple aggregation.
  • In one embodiment, the scans can be run on a sub-section of tables so that not all tables need to be replicated in the non-relational database. In some embodiments, the results need only be approximately correct. Other optimizations can be utilized to provide the desired level of performance.
  • The query plan can be executed as multiple parallel scans, 260, of non-relational database 230. In one embodiment, a set of HBase (or other non-relational database) scans that can be executed in parallel for each row key range. In one embodiment, these scans are executed in parallel for each row key range and can be combined to provide results of the query.
  • In one embodiment, non-relational database 230 can perform filtering and/or aggregation. Results of the multiple parallel scans are returned, 265, to SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220. In one embodiment, SQL-to-NoSQL agent 220 can perform merge sorting on the results. By combining the results of the one or more scans, the system can provide an aggregated/unified result to the original SQL query. The results are provided, 270, to SQL interface 210.
  • In one embodiment, deletion from the relational database environment is decoupled from the copy process. In embodiment, a system job in the relational database environment periodically (e.g., daily, weekly, 12 hours) runs to query tenants/organizations that have the functionality described herein enabled to determine whether any data copy jobs have been completed. If so, the data that has been copied to the non-relational database environment may be deleted from the relational database environment.
  • In one embodiment, when a deletion message/job is processed, the handler determines the parameters (e.g., field history, older than a specified date) for the deletion request. The non-relational database can be queried to determine the data within the specified range. For each chunk, the handler passes identifiers loaded from the non-relational database environment to the relational database environment to cause a hard delete of the corresponding rows from the relational database environment. Loading the identifiers from the non-relational database environment to the relational database environment ensures that data will not be deleted before being successfully copied from the relational database environment to the non-relational database environment.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an environment 310 wherein an on-demand database service might be used. Environment 310 may include user systems 312, network 314, system 316, processor system 317, application platform 318, network interface 320, tenant data storage 322, system data storage 324, program code 326, and process space 328. In other embodiments, environment 310 may not have all of the components listed and/or may have other elements instead of, or in addition to, those listed above.
  • Environment 310 is an environment in which an on-demand database service exists. User system 312 may be any machine or system that is used by a user to access a database user system. For example, any of user systems 312 can be a handheld computing device, a mobile phone, a laptop computer, a work station, and/or a network of computing devices. As illustrated in herein FIG. 3 (and in more detail in FIG. 4) user systems 312 might interact via a network 314 with an on-demand database service, which is system 316.
  • An on-demand database service, such as system 316, is a database system that is made available to outside users that do not need to necessarily be concerned with building and/or maintaining the database system, but instead may be available for their use when the users need the database system (e.g., on the demand of the users). Some on-demand database services may store information from one or more tenants stored into tables of a common database image to form a multi-tenant database system (MTS). Accordingly, “on-demand database service 316” and “system 316” will be used interchangeably herein. A database image may include one or more database objects. A relational database management system (RDMS) or the equivalent may execute storage and retrieval of information against the database object(s). Application platform 318 may be a framework that allows the applications of system 316 to run, such as the hardware and/or software, e.g., the operating system. In an embodiment, on-demand database service 316 may include an application platform 318 that enables creation, managing and executing one or more applications developed by the provider of the on-demand database service, users accessing the on-demand database service via user systems 312, or third party application developers accessing the on-demand database service via user systems 312.
  • The users of user systems 312 may differ in their respective capacities, and the capacity of a particular user system 312 might be entirely determined by permissions (permission levels) for the current user. For example, where a salesperson is using a particular user system 312 to interact with system 316, that user system has the capacities allotted to that salesperson. However, while an administrator is using that user system to interact with system 316, that user system has the capacities allotted to that administrator. In systems with a hierarchical role model, users at one permission level may have access to applications, data, and database information accessible by a lower permission level user, but may not have access to certain applications, database information, and data accessible by a user at a higher permission level. Thus, different users will have different capabilities with regard to accessing and modifying application and database information, depending on a user's security or permission level.
  • Network 314 is any network or combination of networks of devices that communicate with one another. For example, network 314 can be any one or any combination of a LAN (local area network), WAN (wide area network), telephone network, wireless network, point-to-point network, star network, token ring network, hub network, or other appropriate configuration. As the most common type of computer network in current use is a TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol and Internet Protocol) network, such as the global internetwork of networks often referred to as the “Internet” with a capital “I,” that network will be used in many of the examples herein. However, it should be understood that the networks that one or more implementations might use are not so limited, although TCP/IP is a frequently implemented protocol.
  • User systems 312 might communicate with system 316 using TCP/IP and, at a higher network level, use other common Internet protocols to communicate, such as HTTP, FTP, AFS, WAP, etc. In an example where HTTP is used, user system 312 might include an HTTP client commonly referred to as a “browser” for sending and receiving HTTP messages to and from an HTTP server at system 316. Such an HTTP server might be implemented as the sole network interface between system 316 and network 314, but other techniques might be used as well or instead. In some implementations, the interface between system 316 and network 314 includes load sharing functionality, such as round-robin HTTP request distributors to balance loads and distribute incoming HTTP requests evenly over a plurality of servers. At least as for the users that are accessing that server, each of the plurality of servers has access to the MTS' data; however, other alternative configurations may be used instead.
  • In one embodiment, system 316, shown in FIG. 3, implements a web-based customer relationship management (CRM) system. For example, in one embodiment, system 316 includes application servers configured to implement and execute CRM software applications as well as provide related data, code, forms, webpages and other information to and from user systems 312 and to store to, and retrieve from, a database system related data, objects, and Webpage content. With a multi-tenant system, data for multiple tenants may be stored in the same physical database object, however, tenant data typically is arranged so that data of one tenant is kept logically separate from that of other tenants so that one tenant does not have access to another tenant's data, unless such data is expressly shared. In certain embodiments, system 316 implements applications other than, or in addition to, a CRM application. For example, system 316 may provide tenant access to multiple hosted (standard and custom) applications, including a CRM application. User (or third party developer) applications, which may or may not include CRM, may be supported by the application platform 318, which manages creation, storage of the applications into one or more database objects and executing of the applications in a virtual machine in the process space of the system 316.
  • One arrangement for elements of system 316 is shown in FIG. 3, including a network interface 320, application platform 318, tenant data storage 322 for tenant data 323, system data storage 324 for system data 325 accessible to system 316 and possibly multiple tenants, program code 326 for implementing various functions of system 316, and a process space 328 for executing MTS system processes and tenant-specific processes, such as running applications as part of an application hosting service. Additional processes that may execute on system 316 include database indexing processes.
  • Several elements in the system shown in FIG. 3 include conventional, well-known elements that are explained only briefly here. For example, each user system 312 could include a desktop personal computer, workstation, laptop, PDA, cell phone, or any wireless access protocol (WAP) enabled device or any other computing device capable of interfacing directly or indirectly to the Internet or other network connection. User system 312 typically runs an HTTP client, e.g., a browsing program, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, Netscape's Navigator browser, Opera's browser, or a WAP-enabled browser in the case of a cell phone, PDA or other wireless device, or the like, allowing a user (e.g., subscriber of the multi-tenant database system) of user system 312 to access, process and view information, pages and applications available to it from system 316 over network 314. Each user system 312 also typically includes one or more user interface devices, such as a keyboard, a mouse, trackball, touch pad, touch screen, pen or the like, for interacting with a graphical user interface (GUI) provided by the browser on a display (e.g., a monitor screen, LCD display, etc.) in conjunction with pages, forms, applications and other information provided by system 316 or other systems or servers. For example, the user interface device can be used to access data and applications hosted by system 316, and to perform searches on stored data, and otherwise allow a user to interact with various GUI pages that may be presented to a user. As discussed above, embodiments are suitable for use with the Internet, which refers to a specific global internetwork of networks. However, it should be understood that other networks can be used instead of the Internet, such as an intranet, an extranet, a virtual private network (VPN), a non-TCP/IP based network, any LAN or WAN or the like.
  • According to one embodiment, each user system 312 and all of its components are operator configurable using applications, such as a browser, including computer code run using a central processing unit such as an Intel Pentium® processor or the like. Similarly, system 316 (and additional instances of an MTS, where more than one is present) and all of their components might be operator configurable using application(s) including computer code to run using a central processing unit such as processor system 317, which may include an Intel Pentium® processor or the like, and/or multiple processor units. A computer program product embodiment includes a machine-readable storage medium (media) having instructions stored thereon/in which can be used to program a computer to perform any of the processes of the embodiments described herein. Computer code for operating and configuring system 316 to intercommunicate and to process webpages, applications and other data and media content as described herein are preferably downloaded and stored on a hard disk, but the entire program code, or portions thereof, may also be stored in any other volatile or non-volatile memory medium or device as is well known, such as a ROM or RAM, or provided on any media capable of storing program code, such as any type of rotating media including floppy disks, optical discs, digital versatile disk (DVD), compact disk (CD), microdrive, and magneto-optical disks, and magnetic or optical cards, nanosystems (including molecular memory ICs), or any type of media or device suitable for storing instructions and/or data. Additionally, the entire program code, or portions thereof, may be transmitted and downloaded from a software source over a transmission medium, e.g., over the Internet, or from another server, as is well known, or transmitted over any other conventional network connection as is well known (e.g., extranet, VPN, LAN, etc.) using any communication medium and protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, HTTP, HTTPS, Ethernet, etc.) as are well known. It will also be appreciated that computer code for implementing embodiments can be implemented in any programming language that can be executed on a client system and/or server or server system such as, for example, C, C++, HTML, any other markup language, Java™, JavaScript, ActiveX, any other scripting language, such as VBScript, and many other programming languages as are well known may be used. (Java™ is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.).
  • According to one embodiment, each system 316 is configured to provide webpages, forms, applications, data and media content to user (client) systems 312 to support the access by user systems 312 as tenants of system 316. As such, system 316 provides security mechanisms to keep each tenant's data separate unless the data is shared. If more than one MTS is used, they may be located in close proximity to one another (e.g., in a server farm located in a single building or campus), or they may be distributed at locations remote from one another (e.g., one or more servers located in city A and one or more servers located in city B). As used herein, each MTS could include one or more logically and/or physically connected servers distributed locally or across one or more geographic locations. Additionally, the term “server” is meant to include a computer system, including processing hardware and process space(s), and an associated storage system and database application (e.g., OODBMS or RDBMS) as is well known in the art. It should also be understood that “server system” and “server” are often used interchangeably herein. Similarly, the database object described herein can be implemented as single databases, a distributed database, a collection of distributed databases, a database with redundant online or offline backups or other redundancies, etc., and might include a distributed database or storage network and associated processing intelligence.
  • FIG. 4 also illustrates environment 310. However, in FIG. 4 elements of system 316 and various interconnections in an embodiment are further illustrated. FIG. 4 shows that user system 312 may include processor system 312A, memory system 312B, input system 312C, and output system 312D. FIG. 4 shows network 314 and system 316. FIG. 4 also shows that system 316 may include tenant data storage 322, tenant data 323, system data storage 324, system data 325, User Interface (UI) 430, Application Program Interface (API) 432, PL/SOQL 434, save routines 436, application setup mechanism 438, applications servers 400 1-400 N, system process space 402, tenant process spaces 404, tenant management process space 410, tenant storage area 412, user storage 414, and application metadata 416. In other embodiments, environment 310 may not have the same elements as those listed above and/or may have other elements instead of, or in addition to, those listed above.
  • User system 312, network 314, system 316, tenant data storage 322, and system data storage 324 were discussed above in FIG. 3. Regarding user system 312, processor system 312A may be any combination of one or more processors. Memory system 312B may be any combination of one or more memory devices, short term, and/or long term memory. Input system 312C may be any combination of input devices, such as one or more keyboards, mice, trackballs, scanners, cameras, and/or interfaces to networks. Output system 312D may be any combination of output devices, such as one or more monitors, printers, and/or interfaces to networks. As shown by FIG. 4, system 316 may include a network interface 320 (of FIG. 3) implemented as a set of HTTP application servers 400, an application platform 318, tenant data storage 322, and system data storage 324. Also shown is system process space 402, including individual tenant process spaces 404 and a tenant management process space 410. Each application server 400 may be configured to tenant data storage 322 and the tenant data 323 therein, and system data storage 324 and the system data 325 therein to serve requests of user systems 312. The tenant data 323 might be divided into individual tenant storage areas 412, which can be either a physical arrangement and/or a logical arrangement of data. Within each tenant storage area 412, user storage 414 and application metadata 416 might be similarly allocated for each user. For example, a copy of a user's most recently used (MRU) items might be stored to user storage 414. Similarly, a copy of MRU items for an entire organization that is a tenant might be stored to tenant storage area 412. A UI 430 provides a user interface and an API 432 provides an application programmer interface to system 316 resident processes to users and/or developers at user systems 312. The tenant data and the system data may be stored in various databases, such as one or more Oracle™ databases.
  • Application platform 318 includes an application setup mechanism 438 that supports application developers' creation and management of applications, which may be saved as metadata into tenant data storage 322 by save routines 436 for execution by subscribers as one or more tenant process spaces 404 managed by tenant management process 410 for example. Invocations to such applications may be coded using PL/SOQL 434 that provides a programming language style interface extension to API 432. A detailed description of some PL/SOQL language embodiments is discussed in commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 7,730,478 entitled, “Method and System for Allowing Access to Developed Applicants via a Multi-Tenant Database On-Demand Database Service” issued Jun. 1, 2010 to Craig Weissman, which is incorporated in its entirety herein for all purposes. Invocations to applications may be detected by one or more system processes, which manage retrieving application metadata 416 for the subscriber making the invocation and executing the metadata as an application in a virtual machine.
  • Each application server 400 may be communicably coupled to database systems, e.g., having access to system data 325 and tenant data 323, via a different network connection. For example, one application server 400 1 might be coupled via the network 314 (e.g., the Internet), another application server 400 N-1 might be coupled via a direct network link, and another application server 400 N might be coupled by yet a different network connection. Transfer Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) are typical protocols for communicating between application servers 400 and the database system. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that other transport protocols may be used to optimize the system depending on the network interconnect used.
  • In certain embodiments, each application server 400 is configured to handle requests for any user associated with any organization that is a tenant. Because it is desirable to be able to add and remove application servers from the server pool at any time for any reason, there is preferably no server affinity for a user and/or organization to a specific application server 400. In one embodiment, therefore, an interface system implementing a load balancing function (e.g., an F5 Big-IP load balancer) is communicably coupled between the application servers 400 and the user systems 312 to distribute requests to the application servers 400. In one embodiment, the load balancer uses a least connections algorithm to route user requests to the application servers 400. Other examples of load balancing algorithms, such as round robin and observed response time, also can be used. For example, in certain embodiments, three consecutive requests from the same user could hit three different application servers 400, and three requests from different users could hit the same application server 400. In this manner, system 316 is multi-tenant, wherein system 316 handles storage of, and access to, different objects, data and applications across disparate users and organizations.
  • As an example of storage, one tenant might be a company that employs a sales force where each salesperson uses system 316 to manage their sales process. Thus, a user might maintain contact data, leads data, customer follow-up data, performance data, goals and progress data, etc., all applicable to that user's personal sales process (e.g., in tenant data storage 322). In an example of a MTS arrangement, since all of the data and the applications to access, view, modify, report, transmit, calculate, etc., can be maintained and accessed by a user system having nothing more than network access, the user can manage his or her sales efforts and cycles from any of many different user systems. For example, if a salesperson is visiting a customer and the customer has Internet access in their lobby, the salesperson can obtain critical updates as to that customer while waiting for the customer to arrive in the lobby.
  • While each user's data might be separate from other users' data regardless of the employers of each user, some data might be organization-wide data shared or accessible by a plurality of users or all of the users for a given organization that is a tenant. Thus, there might be some data structures managed by system 316 that are allocated at the tenant level while other data structures might be managed at the user level. Because an MTS might support multiple tenants including possible competitors, the MTS should have security protocols that keep data, applications, and application use separate. Also, because many tenants may opt for access to an MTS rather than maintain their own system, redundancy, up-time, and backup are additional functions that may be implemented in the MTS. In addition to user-specific data and tenant specific data, system 316 might also maintain system level data usable by multiple tenants or other data. Such system level data might include industry reports, news, postings, and the like that are sharable among tenants.
  • In certain embodiments, user systems 312 (which may be client systems) communicate with application servers 400 to request and update system-level and tenant-level data from system 316 that may require sending one or more queries to tenant data storage 322 and/or system data storage 324. System 316 (e.g., an application server 400 in system 316) automatically generates one or more SQL statements (e.g., one or more SQL queries) that are designed to access the desired information. System data storage 324 may generate query plans to access the requested data from the database.
  • Each database can generally be viewed as a collection of objects, such as a set of logical tables, containing data fitted into predefined categories. A “table” is one representation of a data object, and may be used herein to simplify the conceptual description of objects and custom objects. It should be understood that “table” and “object” may be used interchangeably herein. Each table generally contains one or more data categories logically arranged as columns or fields in a viewable schema. Each row or record of a table contains an instance of data for each category defined by the fields. For example, a CRM database may include a table that describes a customer with fields for basic contact information such as name, address, phone number, fax number, etc. Another table might describe a purchase order, including fields for information such as customer, product, sale price, date, etc. In some multi-tenant database systems, standard entity tables might be provided for use by all tenants. For CRM database applications, such standard entities might include tables for Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity data, each containing pre-defined fields. It should be understood that the word “entity” may also be used interchangeably herein with “object” and “table”.
  • In some multi-tenant database systems, tenants may be allowed to create and store custom objects, or they may be allowed to customize standard entities or objects, for example by creating custom fields for standard objects, including custom index fields. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/817,161, filed Apr. 2, 2004, entitled “Custom Entities and Fields in a Multi-Tenant Database System”, and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, teaches systems and methods for creating custom objects as well as customizing standard objects in a multi-tenant database system. In certain embodiments, for example, all custom entity data rows are stored in a single multi-tenant physical table, which may contain multiple logical tables per organization. It is transparent to customers that their multiple “tables” are in fact stored in one large table or that their data may be stored in the same table as the data of other customers.
  • Reference in the specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
  • While the invention has been described in terms of several embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention is not limited to the embodiments described, but can be practiced with modification and alteration within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. The description is thus to be regarded as illustrative instead of limiting.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A system to manage data, the system comprising:
a server entity to provide service to one or more remote client devices;
a relational database system having at least a relational database storage device as part of a multitenant environment, the relational database system coupled with the server entity; and
a non-relational database system having at least a non-relational database storage device as part of the multitenant environment, the relational database system coupled with the server entity, wherein data stored in the non-relational database is immutable, wherein data stored in the non-relational database system is stored in a custom object, which is one or more custom database tables that allow a tenant to store information unique to the tenant;
wherein a single user interface and single search language is utilized by the server entity to provide access to both the relational database system and the non-relational database system.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein the server entity provides an on-demand services environment utilizing both the relational database environment and the non-relational database environment.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein the on-demand services environment comprises a multitenant database environment.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the service provider is configurable to receive a Structure Query Language (SQL) query, to transform the SQL query into one or more non-relational database scans having associated row key ranges, to execute the one or more non-relational database scans in parallel for each row key range, to combine results from the parallel scans of the non-relational database, and to provide the combined results as results of the SQL query.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein data mutations utilize a copy operation so that changes in the data cause generation of a superset or of a subset of data.
6. A method for managing data within a database environment having a relational database and a non-relational database, the method comprising:
storing data in the relational database using a custom object comprising one or more database tables that allow a tenant of a multitenant environment to store information unique to the tenant using a first database interface;
storing immutable data in the non-relational database using a second database interface;
providing access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface to receive database queries in a single search language for both the relational database and the non-relational database.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein providing access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface comprises providing search functionality over data in both the relational database and the non-relational database via a single search mechanism.
8. The method of claim 6 wherein the database environment provides an on-demand services environment utilizing both the relational database environment and the non-relational database environment.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the on-demand services environment comprises a multitenant database environment.
10. The method of claim 6 wherein the graphical user interface is configurable to receive a Structure Query Language (SQL) query, to transform the SQL query into one or more non-relational database scans having associated row key ranges, to execute the one or more non-relational database scans in parallel for each row key range, to combine results from the parallel scans of the non-relational database, and to provide the combined results as results of the SQL query.
11. The method of claim 6 wherein data mutations utilize a copy operation so that changes in the data cause generation of a superset or of a subset of data.
12. A non-transitory computer-readable medium having stored thereon instructions to provide data management within a database environment having a relational database and a non-relational database, the instructions, when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to:
store data in the relational database using a custom object comprising one or more database tables that allow a tenant of a multitenant environment to store information unique to the tenant using a first database interface;
store immutable data in the non-relational database using a second database interface;
provide access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface to receive database queries in a single search language for both the relational database and the non-relational database.
13. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 12 wherein the instructions that cause the one or more processors to provide access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface comprise instructions that, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to provide search functionality over data in both the relational database and the non-relational database via a single search mechanism.
14. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 12 wherein the database environment provides an on-demand services environment utilizing both the relational database environment and the non-relational database environment.
15. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 14 wherein the on-demand services environment comprises a multitenant database environment.
16. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 12 wherein the graphical user interface is configurable to receive a Structure Query Language (SQL) query, to transform the SQL query into one or more non-relational database scans having associated row key ranges, to execute the one or more non-relational database scans in parallel for each row key range, to combine results from the parallel scans of the non-relational database, and to provide the combined results as results of the SQL query.
17. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 12 wherein data mutations utilize a copy operation so that changes in the data cause generation of a superset or of a subset of data.
18. An apparatus for managing data within a database environment having a relational database and a non-relational database, the apparatus comprising:
means for storing data in the relational database using a custom object comprising one or more database tables that allow a tenant of a multitenant environment to store information unique to the tenant using a first database interface;
means for storing immutable data in the non-relational database using a second database interface;
means for providing access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface to receive database queries in a single search language for both the relational database and the non-relational database.
19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the means for providing access to both the relational database and the non-relational database via the first database interface and the second database interface via a singe graphical user interface comprise means for providing search functionality over data in both the relational database and the non-relational database via a single search mechanism.
20. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the graphical user interface comprises means for receiving a Structured Query Language (SQL) query, to transform the SQL query into one or more non-relational database scans having associated row key ranges, to execute the one or more non-relational database scans in parallel for each row key range, to combine results from the parallel scans of the non-relational database, and to provide the combined results as results of the SQL query.
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