September 26, 2008

Netezza and Teradata on analytic geospatial data management

Geospatial data management is one of the flavors of the month:

So I asked Netezza and Teradata what this geospatial analytics stuff is all about.

The first thing to note is that OLTP/general-purpose DBMS and analytic DBMS handle geospatial data differently. That is, most serious general-purpose RDBMS use an indexing scheme like r-trees, which excel at management of individual geographic-coordinate database records. Analytic DBMS vendors, however, who focus on focusing large sets of data, implement geospatial datatypes as user-defined functions (UDFs) or the equivalent, with no special indexing. Instead, they focus on parallel execution of analytics, and integration with other analytic parallel processing.

Therefore — IBM customers perhaps aside — nobody is using geospatial indexes integrated into a high-performance parallel data warehouse DBMS. Netezza claims that it turns out to be a little faster to do geospatial analytics in standalone “silos” than integrated into OLTP DBMS – or at least, that’s the choice most users have made to date. I suspect that Netezza’s view of the market is naturally biased towards those who have already determined general-purpose DBMS’ geospatial analytics capabilities aren’t fast enough. But anyhow, it’s perfectly plausible that MPP geospatial queries run a whole lot faster than SMP ones.

Except in the one marketing claim noted above, Teradata has been pretty quiet about its geospatial capabilities. The Teradata Geospatial Extension product page is laughably sparse. When pressed, Teradata grudgingly confessed to having several deployed geospatial customers, but offered no details as to industry, uses, etc., or even whether the customers were classified – and by the way, would I please be so kind as not to identify the Teradata person or people who told me even that much?

As you might guess, I also had trouble getting a clear sense of why Teradata thinks its geospatial capabilities are more “sophisticated” than Netezza’s. But I gathered it had something to do with a really cool way of parallelizing UDFs, and perhaps also of integrating UDFs with each other or with normal database operations.

Netezza, by contrast, has been quite visible on the geospatial front. According to Phil Francisco and Razi Raziuddin of Netezza, business highlights of the Netezza Spatial story include:

Technically, it seems like most geospatial vendors support pretty similar functionality, in line with a standard called OGC (for Open Geospatial Consortium). Geospatial deals with three fundamental kinds of objects:

Examples of functions that can be computed on these objects includes:

If you’ve followed along this far, you may be thinking something like “Wait a moment! Map-oriented GUIs became staples of BI dashboard demos years ago! Surely this stuff isn’t new.” (E.g., I recall Mike Stonebraker showing me something along those lines when he was still at Informix.) But according to Phil and Razi geography-in-BI hasn’t actually been based on latitude/longitude coordinates, but rather on conventional tabular fields like zip code or state/province. My observations over the years are consistent with that claim.

So who might actually use this stuff? Obvious vertical markets include:


3 Responses to “Netezza and Teradata on analytic geospatial data management”

  1. Oracle Database Machine and Exadata pricing: Part 2 | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on September 30th, 2008 3:06 am

    […] want other chargeable options, such as Oracle Spatial. (Teradata, if I’m not too mistaken, gives its spatial analytics technology away for free.) So my spreadsheet now includes exactly the options in the bulleted list […]

  2. Teradata Geospatial, and datatype extensibility in general | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on October 22nd, 2008 11:47 pm

    […] release this week, Teradata is productizing its geospatial datatype, which previously was just a downloadable library. (Edit:  More precisely, Teradata announced 13.0, which will actually be shipped some time in […]

  3. Infology.Ru » Blog Archive » Netezza и Teradata в управлении аналитическими геопространственными данными on November 12th, 2008 3:08 am

    […] Автор: Curt Monash Дата публикации оригинала: 2008-09-26 Источник: Блог Курта Монаша […]

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