What is Milvus


Milvus is an open-source vector database that is highly flexible, reliable, and blazing fast. It supports adding, deleting, updating, and near real-time search of vectors on a trillion-byte scale. A comprehensive set of intuitive APIs, and support for multiple widely adopted index libraries (e.g., Faiss, NMSLIB, and Annoy), simplifies the process of choosing the right index type for a given scenario. Additionally, support for scalar data filtering ensures Milvus maintains a high recall rate and remains adaptable.

Milvus runs on a client-server model. At a high-level, it operates as follows:

  • The Milvus server includes the Milvus Core and Meta Store.

    • Milvus Core stores and manages vectors and scalar data.

    • Meta Store stores and manages metadata in SQLite for testing or MySQL for production.

  • On the client side, Milvus provides SDKs in Python, Java, Go, and C++, as well as RESTful APIs.

Milvus was released under the open-source Apache License 2.0 in October 2019. It is currently an incubation-stage project under LF AI & Data Foundation. Milvus' source code is hosted on GitHub.

The Milvus server runs on a standalone node. For scenarios involving large datasets or requiring high concurrency consider Mishards, our cluster sharding middleware.

Overall architecture

Milvus architecture


Milvus has been used in hundreds of organizations and institutions worldwide including the following scenarios:

  • Image, video, and audio search.
  • Recommender systems, chatbots, and other text search fields.
  • New drug discovery, genetic screening, and other biomedical fields.

See Scenarios for more information.

Key features

Heterogeneous computing

  • Optimizes search and indexing performance on GPU.
  • Searches trillion-byte scale datasets in milliseconds.
  • Manages inserting, deleting, updating, and querying vector data in a dynamic environment.

Compatible with mainstream libraries, metrics, and tooling

  • Offers support for Faiss, NMSLIB, and Annoy libraries.
  • Supports graph- and tree-based indexes as well as quantization.
  • Measures similarity using Euclidean distance (L2), inner product, Hamming distance, Jaccard distance, and more.
  • Monitors and visualizes runtime metrics using Prometheus and Grafana.
  • Newly inserted datasets are available for search in one second or less.

Scalar field filtering (coming soon)

  • Makes search more flexible by allowing data to be filtered more granularly.

Milvus distributions

Milvus is available in CPU-only and GPU-enabled distributions:

  • The CPU-only Milvus distribution relies on CPU exclusively to search and build indexes.
  • The GPU-enabled Milvus distribution supports GPU acceleration for search and index building. For example, CPU can be used for search while GPU is used for index building, improving query efficiency.

For GPUs that support CUDA, the GPU-enabled Milvus distribution can be used to achieve much better search performance when working with large-scale datasets.

See Milvus Distributions for more information..

Join our community

Before joining our developer community, please take some time to read our code contribution guidelines.

For questions about Milvus' functionality or SDKs, join our GitHub Discussions or Slack channel.

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