Greenplum is announcing today that you can run Greenplum software on a single 8-core commodity server, free. First and foremost, that’s a strong statement that Greenplum wants enterprises to pay it for Greenplum’s parallelization/”private cloud” capabilities. Second, it may be an attractive gift to a variety of folks who want to extract insight from terabyte-scale databases of various kinds.
Greenplum Single-Node Edition:
- Is free of charge, although you can buy support.
- Has no restrictions on use, production or otherwise.
- Has no restrictions on database size.
- Is closed-source.
For those who want free, terabyte-scale data warehousing software, Greenplum Single-Node Edition may be quite appealing, considering that the main available alternatives are:
- General-purpose open-source DBMS, such as PostgreSQL and MySQL (lacking analytic DBMS performance and features)
- Infobright Community Edition (the other best choice – Infobright’s commercial sales success indicates the solidity of Infobright’s technology)
- Rough research-project code and other other questionable open source offerings
- Crippleware from other commercial analytic DBMS vendors (e.g., Teradata)
For example, comparing PostgreSQL-based Greenplum with PostgreSQL itself, Greenplum offers:
- The ability to scale out queries across all cores in your box (and no, pgpool is not a serious alternative)
- Storage alternatives such as columnar (I am told that EnterpriseDB recently stopped funding a project for a PostgreSQL columnar option)
Greenplum would surely also argue that its software is superior to PostgreSQL in parallel load, compression, MapReduce integration, and general fit-and-finish. I imagine that in some (perhaps not all) cases it would be right. PostgreSQL’s main technical advantages over Greenplum would probably lie in the area of datatype extensibility.
The main target users for Greenplum’s Single-Node Edition are obviously individual enterprise power users or very small analytic teams. I.e., it’s people with a data mart need that a central data warehouse isn’t meeting. Potential benefits to Greenplum include:
- Adding value to its Enterprise Data Cloud story
- Seeding the market for future enterprise sales
- Depriving competitors of revenue, perhaps at enterprises too small to ever be paying Greenplum customers
In addition, I see free Greenplum as a charity offering that could be appealing to scientists who face PostgreSQL performance limitations.
- Greenplum Free Single-Node Edition press release (I’m quoted)
- MySQL Performance blog on MonetDB and Infobright community edition
- PostgreSQL’s restriction to one core per query
- Infobright’s restriction to one core per query