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Voice of the DBA

Welcome to the Voice of the DBA, thoughts from Steve Jones on databases, SQL Server, and life.

Feb 1, 2023

I had never heard of a vector database. I assumed this was a specialist type of database used for a particular problem domain, like a streaming database or graph database. There is a need for specialized platforms in certain situations, but I wasn't sure what a vector was. The description I saw for a vector database was that they "... are specifically designed to work with the unique characteristics of vector embeddings. They index data in a way that makes it easy to search and retrieve objects according to their numerical values."

That sounds like any database. However, I saw a few more articles on the hype and then some details about the ways in which this type of database is helpful. Essentially, this is a database designed to store the outputs from various Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models that examine unstructured data. Things like images, video, audio, and even text are turned into numerical values, or vectors. The vector database is designed to help index and then search these vectors.

Read the rest of The Rise of Vector Databases