The last person I spoke with at the Netezza conference on Tuesday was a customer/presenter that the company had picked out for me. One thing he said baffled me — he claimed that Netezza was a real appliance vendor, but DATallegro wasn’t, presumably due to administrability issues. Now, it wasn’t clear to me that he’d ever evaluated DATallegro, so I didn’t take this too seriously, but still the exchange brought into focus the great differences between data warehouse products in the area of administration. For example:
- Netezza has no indices at all. And no caches. And the hardware is preconfigured. This all makes administration pretty simple.
- DATallegro has almost no indices, and also has preconfigured hardware. But it has some partitioning, optionally.
- Teradata also has preconfigured hardware. It does have indices, but rather simple ones. Plus it has join indices. And it has a few more configuration options in other areas (e.g., block size) than the other appliance vendors. (Yes, I count Teradata among the appliances.)
- If you go through all the fuss of installing SAP’s applications and BI technology anyway, the incremental administration of just SAP BI Accelerator is pretty light.
- Oracle and IBM have mammothly complex indexing options, but have put large amounts of work into tools to lessen the resulting administrative burden.
- IBM offers preconfigured hardware units to simplify some installation issues.
- Come to think of it, I don’t really know how hard it is to administer columnar systems (e.g., Sybase IQ).