September 19, 2007

Some pushback from DATAllegro against the columnar argument

I was chatting with Stuart Frost this evening (DATAllegro’s CEO). As usual, I grilled him about customer counts; as usual, he was evasive, but expressed general ebullience about the pace of business; also as usual, he was charming and helpful on other subjects.

In particular, we talked about the Vertica story, and he offered some interesting pushback. Part was blindingly obvious — Vertica’s not in the marketplace yet, when they are the product won’t be mature, and so on. Part was the also obvious “we can do most of that ourselves” line of argument, some of which I’ve summarized in a comment here. But he made two other interesting points as well.

1. One of the two main premises* of the columnar argument is that a typical query uses only a small fraction of the available columns. But in real life, there are a lot of applications where that assumption isn’t valid. In market basket or clickstream analysis, for example, it’s common to look at pretty much everything — certainly if you’re using statistical/data mining techniques, but also if you’re just running SQL queries instead.

*The other one, it seems, is better compression.

2. Vertica makes a lot of noise about its blowout benchmarks. But as I pointed out yesterday, vendor-performed comparative benchmarks aren’t necessarily apples-to-apples. Stuart offered a specific example of that. He said that the numbers Vertica was using in a comparison to Netezza came from one of Netezza’s first systems ever, sold to one of its first customers ever. And the reason he knows this is because the customer told him. Why? Because the customer switched from Netezza to DATAllegro.

I do wish Stuart talked more openly about his customer list. If he did, I’d feel freer to post some compare/contrasts between what other vendors say is going on in the marketplace, and what he sees. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to live with the disappointment. One can’t, as it were, win ’em all.


One Response to “Some pushback from DATAllegro against the columnar argument”

  1. DW Consultant on October 13th, 2007 10:33 pm

    This website is very informative and I hope editors here can make sure that correct information is published.

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