February, 2011 edit: I’ve now commented on Gartner’s 2010 Data Warehouse Database Management System Magic Quadrant as well.
Several vendors are offering links to Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant report on data warehouse DBMS. (Edit: This is now a much better link to the 2006 MQ.) Somewhat atypically for Gartner, there’s a strict hierarchy among most of the vendors, with Teradata > IBM > Oracle > Microsoft > Sybase > Kognitio > MySQL > Sand, in each case on both axes of the matrix. The only two exceptions are Netezza and DATallegro, which are depicted as outvisioning Microsoft somewhat even as they trail both Microsoft and Sybase in execution.
Gartner Magic Quadrants tend to annoy me, and I’m not going to critique the rankings in detail. But I do think this particular MQ is helpful in framing a vendor segmentation, namely:
- Big full-spectrum MPP/shared-nothing vendors: Teradata and IBM.
- MPP/shared-nothing appliance upstarts: Netezza and DATallegro
- Big SMP/shared-everything vendors who also are apt to be your OLTP incumbent, and who want to integrate your software stack soup-to-nuts: Oracle and Microsoft
- Niche vendors: Pretty much everybody else
As I see it, the first battle is Groups 1&2 vs. Group 3, and Groups 1&2 are winning. All is not lost for Group 3, however, because it makes a certain sense to have an OLTP-like enterprise warehouse that offloads the more analytical warehousing to specialists from Groups 2, 4, or even 1. Or, if your warehousing needs are lightweight enough, just use your favorite OLTP DBMS vendor for everything and don’t worry about it.
The next question is Group 2 vs. Group 1. That one will be interesting. Certainly there are workloads the Group 2 guys will have trouble handling unless they narrow their technical difference vs. the Group 1 guys. On the other hand, for the workloads the Group 2 guys are currently tuned for, it will be a strain for the Group 1 guys to be fully price-competitive, notwithstanding their claims of “Oh, we can do everything those little guys can if we just turn off enough of our features.” And what happens if Oracle or Microsoft decides to simply buy DATallegro or Netezza? And for that matter, what happens if IBM actually gains more traction for OLTP uses for distributed DB2, and/or for its XML engine?
This is going to be a fascinating market to watch.