Xtreme Data called me to talk about its plans in the data warehouse appliance business, almost all details of which are currently embargoed. Still, a few points may be worth noting ahead of more precise information, namely:
- Xtreme Data’s basic idea is to take a custom board and build a data warehouse appliance around it.
- An Xtreme Data board looks a lot like a conventional two-socket board, but has only one four-core CPU. In addition, it sports some FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays).
- In the Xtreme Data appliance, the FPGAs will be used for core SQL processing, after the data is ingested via conventional I/O. This is different from Netezza’s approach to FPGA-based data warehouse appliances, in which the FPGA sits in the place of a disk controller and touches the data first, before passing it off to a more or less conventional CPU.
- While preparing entry into the data warehouse appliance business, Xtreme Data has sold its board to 150 other outfits, many quite impressive. Buyers seem to be FPGA users who previously had to craft their own custom boards. According to Xtreme Data, major uses by these customers include:
- Military/intelligence/digital signal processing.
- Military/intelligence/cybersecurity (a newish area for Xtreme Data)
- Bioinformatics/high-throughput gene sequencing (a “handful” of customers)
- Medical imaging
- More or less pure university research of various sorts (around 50 customers)
- … but not database management.
- Xtreme Data’s website has a non-obvious URL.
So far as I can tell, Xtreme Data’s 1.0 product will — like most other 1.0 analytic database management products — be focused on price/performance, without little or no positive differentiation in the way of features.