Since its introduction in 1971, the B-tree has become the dominant index structure in database systems.
Conventional wisdom dictated that the use of a B-tree index or one of its descendants would typically lead to good results.
The advent of XML-data, column stores, and the recent resurgence of typed-graph (or triple) stores motivated by the Semantic Web has changed the nature of the data typically stored.
In this paper we show that in the case of triple-stores the usage of B-trees is actually highly detrimental to query performance.
Specifically, we compare on-disk query performance of our triple-based Hexastore when using two different B-tree implementations, and our simple and novel vector storage that leverages offsets.
Our experimental evaluation with a large benchmark data set confirms that the vector storage outperforms the other approaches by at least a factor of four in load-time, by approximately a factor of three (and up to a factor of eight for some queries) in query-time, as well as by a factor of two in required storage.
The only drawback of the vector-based approach is its time-consuming need for reorganization of parts of the data during inserts of new triples: a seldom occurrence in many Semantic Web environments.
As such this paper tries to reopen the discussion about the trade-offs when using different types of indices in the light of non-relational data and contribute to the endeavor of building scalable and fast typed-graph databases.