September 26, 2007

Notes from the Netezza user conference

EDIT: Big whoops, and apologies to Philip. I didn’t check the date, and what I linked to was last year’s article. That said, it read as if it could have been this year’s, which tells us something about the pace of Netezza’s information disclosure. Resulting errors of mine are left in place.

Netezza perennially annoys me by the secrecy with which it surrounds its information disclosure, especially at the annual user conference (just concluded). Essentially, except for what has also been separately disclosed, the whole thing is under NDA beyond the generality “We told you that we intend to improve our product by making more use of the FPGA.” Blech. That said, Philip Howard* has a long and — no surprise there! — upbeat article. So I’ll link to that, saving me some worries about what I myself am or am not allowed to say. E.g., I wouldn’t dare suggest — as Philip does — that Netezza’s zone maps (essentially, one-dimensional partitioning) could be enhanced going forward. And while I think Netezza has made strong efforts to tell the marketing stories Philip describes as being “hidden under a bushel,” I agree that — largely because of its self-defeating mania for secrecy — Netezza hasn’t done nearly as good a job of getting those messages accepted as it could have.

*Just to be clear — notwithstanding how much I tweak him for his exuberance, Philip seems to be a great guy, both in his publications and in person.

In general, much of what Philip wrote I would agree with. That said, let me hasten to point out some exceptions, including:

But notwithstanding those quibbles, I recommend Philip’s article highly.

And as I’ve said before — if Netezza could get over it’s secrecy fetish about technology, and DATAllegro could get over its secrecy fetish about customers, both companies (and therefore the whole industry) would probably be a lot better off.

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2 Responses to “Notes from the Netezza user conference”

  1. Stuart Frost on September 26th, 2007 11:33 pm

    Great comments Curt.

    I also don’t understand why such a big deal is made of Netezza “putting the processing close to the disk”. If a system based on completely standard hardware can achieve the same or better performance with a smaller footprint and lower power consumption at a lower price point, who cares how long the wires are between the CPUs and the disks?

    As you might have guessed, DATAllegro does all of those things 🙂

    Our new high capacity appliances are even better in terms of footprint, price and power consumption at less than $8k and 25W per TB of user data with up to 300TB per rack.

    Like you, I also like and respect Philip, but there’s little new in his article, despite the expressions of surprise.


  2. Peter on October 9th, 2007 2:27 pm


    You make me laugh, you must spend all day searching for articles on Netezza and posting comments in return about how great Datallegro is, show us the proof tell us about your customer successes without doing so you lack all credibility as a vendor !

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