Massively parallel processing, or MPP, is the structured and highly coordinated processing of a single program by more than one processor. Each of the processors involved in the operation focus on different aspects of the program, and make use of separate memory and operations systems. The processors interact with one another by making use of messaging software that is configured to allow the processors to remain in contact even as each processor unit works on the assigned aspect of the overall program.
Any number of processors can be utilized as part of massively parallel processing. In fact, it is not unusual for more than two hundred processors to work on the same program at the same time. Depending on the complexity of the application, the addition of more processors can greatly enhance the speed with which the program is assimilated and put to use. Typically, the number of multiple processors that will be employed for the application will depend on both the nature of the program and the manner in which the program is to be used within the operating environment.
Massively parallel processors are normally configured to work in tandem with other processors so there is little or not special programming that has to be done with the processors themselves. The real challenge is creating the mode of function between the database and the MPP system. Programmers who are assigned the task of setting up the MPP system will have the challenge of configuring the central database so that the data can be shared among the processors without slowing down the ability of end users to access, add, and update data within the database. This action involves careful attention to detail, and should not be attempted by someone who is not familiar with MPP functions.
Sometimes known as a shared nothing or loosely coupled system, MPP is a great tool when the desire is to easily cross reference multiple databases that are present on a given server, allowing users to conduct wide searches in order to locate needed information. In addition, MPP can also function with data storage systems, which will only help to expand the perimeters of the search request.