January 27, 2007

Data warehouse appliance hardware strategies

Recently, I’ve done extensive research into the hardware strategies of computing appliance vendors, across multiple functional areas. Data warehousing, firewall/unified threat management, antispam, data integration – you name it, I talked to them. Of course, each vendor has a unique twist. But some architectural groupings definitely emerged.

The most common approaches seem to be:

Type 1: Custom assembly from off-the-shelf parts. In this model, the only unusual (but still off-the-shelf) parts are usually in the area of network acceleration (or occasionally encryption). Also, the box may be balanced differently than standard systems, in terms of compute power and/or reliability.

Type 2 (Virtual): We don’t need no stinkin’ custom hardware. In this model, the only “appliancy” features are in the areas of easy deployment, custom operating systems, and/or preconfigured hardware.

And of course there are also appliances of Type 0: Custom hardware including proprietary ASICs or FPGAs.

Different markets had different emphases; e.g., firewall appliances are typically Type 1, while antispam devices cluster in Type 2. But the data warehouse appliance market is highly diverse, which maybe shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, the revenue market leader is non-appliance software vendor Oracle, while noisy upstart Netezza is famous for its FPGA. Anyhow, as I see it the data warehouse appliance vendors break down something like this:

Edit: For more on the data warehouse appliance market overall, please see this December, 2007 post on data warehouse appliance fact and fiction.


8 Responses to “Data warehouse appliance hardware strategies”

  1. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Guide to my recent research on computing appliances on January 27th, 2007 3:47 am

    […] Half or more of the computing appliance vendors I’ve looked into follow very similar hardware strategies: They use mainly standard parts; they include uncommon but off-the-shelf networking (and sometimes encryption) accelerators; and they of course optimize the mix of those parts and general hardware architecture as well. Examples I’ve posted about recently include – and I quote the forthcoming column – “DATallegro and Teradata (data warehousing), Cast Iron Systems (data integration), Barracuda Networks (security/antispam), Blue Coat Systems (networking), and Juniper (security and networking).”  (EDIT:  I actually gave names to three strategies — even if they were just “Type 0″, “Type 1″, and “Type 2″ — in this overview of data warehouse appliance vendors.  And in another post I considered arguments about whether one would want a data warehouse appliance at all.) […]

  2. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Appliances — my conclusions! (For now, at least) on January 29th, 2007 10:23 am

    […] Subsequent to submitting the column, I developed a simpler taxonomy of computing appliance types, namely: […]

  3. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » When and why to virtualize on March 30th, 2007 6:00 am

    […] Just to be safe, don’t virtualize apps that are already I/O-bound or otherwise running flat-out. (So there’s no contradiction to my support for dedicated security, networking, and data warehouse appliances.) […]

  4. Full Table Scan on April 21st, 2008 9:25 pm

    My Definition of Appliance…

    There’s been an increasing amount of discussion lately about what is and isn’t an appliance, what types of appliances there are, etc. especially given today’s announcement by Teradata. Personally, I don’t quite understand what all the fuss is abou…

  5. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services » Blog Archive » Data warehouse appliances – fact and fiction on May 21st, 2008 4:38 pm

    […] Netezza — for example, DATAllegro, Vertica, ParAccel, Greenplum, and Infobright — offer Type 2 appliances. (Dataupia is another […]

  6. Infology.Ru » Blog Archive » Комплексы для хранилищ данных – факты и вымыслы on August 19th, 2008 2:36 pm

    […] например, DATAllegro, Vertica, ParAccel, Greenplum, и Infobright — предлагают комплексы типа 2. (Dataupia является ещё одним […]

  7. Kickfire kicks off | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on February 7th, 2009 3:15 pm

    […] makes a Type 0 appliance. If I understood correctly, it contains the chip, a couple of standard CPU cores, and 64 […]

  8. Notes on the EMC Greenplum Data Computing Appliance | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on October 13th, 2010 10:16 am

    […] EMC Greenplum Data Computing Appliance is a Type 2 appliance. Indeed, the specifics of the Data Computing Appliance’s hardware configuration are so […]

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