That HP is committed to selling a lot of data warehouse hardware — and probably data warehouse appliances in particular — seems obvious, for reasons including:
- HP bought a big BI/data warehousing consulting operation in Knightsbridge.
- HP has put considerable effort into its data warehouse appliance Neoview.
- HP CEO Mark Hurd comes from data warehouse appliance vendor Teradata.
- Data warehousing where the big bucks are.
But Oracle Exadata could produce those appliance sales. So where does HP Neoview fit in?
I was told by an investor today that HP’s investor relations department is saying Oracle Exadata is a Netezza competitor, while Neoview is more in the Teradata market. That’s laughable. The differences between the Teradata and Netezza markets are:
- Teradata scales credibly into the multi-petabyte range, while Netezza today is still down under half a petabyte (each of those figures could be cut in half, if one has stringent standards for credibility).
- Teradata can handle just about any workload for just about any enterprise. Netezza gets up into several hundred concurrent user range, but is more solidly proven at smaller user loads.
Generally, Release 1 of a product has trouble with more complex and concurrent workloads, and the same usually goes for Release 2.* While HP Neoview is promoted as having some high-end features, I have no reason to think it’s actually an exception to that rule. Thus, Neoview should be regarded as being in the Netezza market — and that perhaps only at the wannabe level. There’s no reason to believe in Neoview as being higher-end at this time than Netezza, which has been shipping product for several more years, and probably still has >10X the customers Neoview does.
*Actually, that’s a generalization that extends far beyond data warehouse appliances.
Oracle, on the other hand, is the rare “new” entrant that does deserve benefit of the doubt about concurrency. The part of Exadata that’s really new, getting data off of disk in parallel, is pretty simple. Either Oracle is doing it well out of the gate, or they’ll get it sorted out pretty shortly. What happens to the data after that is that it gets sent up to a RAC cluster. Well, if there’s one thing Oracle RAC clusters are good at, it’s handling concurrency. Anybody can have bottlenecks in a Release 1, but by Release 2 of Oracle’s Exadata-based data warehouse appliances, I don’t expect concurrency to be a big problem.
Nor are mixed workloads a problem in Oracle, now or in the future. The only thing that’s been wrong with Oracle data warehouses is that they can’t run queries very fast, except perhaps after staggering amounts of administrative work and hardware investment. So the area where Oracle should be regarded as guilty-until-proven-innocent is in performance of big queries, not database or workload complexity.
Thus, it’s more accurate to call Oracle Exadata a Teradata competitor and HP Neoview a Netezza competitor than the other way around. But any such labeling overlooks an even more basic issue — Neoview isn’t really competing with anything at all. HP has gotten some initial Neoview sales from a variety of friendly customers, some of whom — surely not all — may even have paid something resembling official prices for the product. But the next loss report a Teradata or Netezza or Greenplum salesman files about a Neoview deal will be very close to the first one. From everything I can tell, HP Neoview isn’t a significant market factor at this time.