A key-value store for modern storage devices


Modern NVMe solid state drives offer significantly higher bandwidth and lower latency than prior storage devices. Current key-value stores struggle to fully utilize the bandwidth of such devices. This paper presents SplinterDB, a new key-value store explicitly designed for NVMe solid-state-drives.

SplinterDB is designed around a novel data structure (the STBε-tree) that exposes I/O and CPU concurrency and reduces write amplification without sacrificing query performance. STBε-tree combines ideas from log-structured merge trees and Bε-trees to reduce write amplification and CPU costs of compaction. The SplinterDB memtable and cache are designed to be highly concurrent and to reduce cache misses.

On a number of micro- and macro-benchmarks, SplinterDB outperforms RocksDB, a state-of-the-art key-value store, by a factor of 6–10x on insertions and 2–2.6x on point queries, while matching RocksDB on small range queries. Furthermore, SplinterDB reduces write amplification by 2x.


  • Our USENIX ATC 2020 paper introduces size-tiered Bε-trees and SplinterDB, a key-value store that outperforms RocksDB by up to an order of magnitude.


SplinterDB is being incubated as part of VMware's tech transfer programs.

SplinterDB Incubation Leader: Carlos Garcia-Alvarado (VMware)

We are hiring interns for summer 2022. Apply


2021 Interns

External Researchers

  • Martin Farach-Colton

Related Publications


  • Active VMW Software Systems Projects

Research Areas

  • Data Structures
  • Databases
  • External-Memory Data Structures
  • Key-Value Stores
  • Write-Optimized Data Structures