A while ago – for example, in a comment dated July 9, 2006 — CEO Stuart Frost of DATAllegro hinted that the company might port its software to commodity hardware before long. If this user story is to be believed, that has now happened. (Specific quote: “the Datallegro system is based on Dell and EMC hardware …”) Officially, the company is doing a Sgt. Schultz on the subject. But the evidence is pretty clear. And so it would seem that Netezza and Teradata are the only remaining data warehouse appliance vendors committed to custom hardware strategies.
Actually, I don’t know whether DATAllegro is acquiring Dell boards, mucking around with them a bit, sticking its own nameplate on, and still telling customers it’s a Dell system. That technical strategy would be reminiscent of Proofpoint’s, for example, albeit with a different marketing/branding choice. But I’m guessing that DATAllegro has gone to a pure software offering – i.e., a “virtual appliance” in Check Point Software’s sense of the term rather than VMware’s.
One thing to emphasize is this: Commodity hardware or no, DATAllegro is surely still tightly controlling the configuration of its systems. Of all the data warehouse appliance and quasi-appliance vendors I’ve talked with, DATAllegro is the one that makes the most fuss about getting just the right balance between disks, RAM, etc. Presumably, that’s in large part due to DATAllegro’s fondness for 2 megabyte block sizes – which is to say, 12 megabyte logical blocks striped across 6 visible Raid 1 disks per node. But I must confess that it’s quite a leap from that point to a claim they often repeat, namely that the whole system’s configuration needs to be oh-so-exquisitely balanced to achieve great performance.