February is usually a busy month for data warehouse DBMS product releases, product announcements, and other real or contrived data warehouse DBMS news, and it can get pretty confusing trying to keep those categories of “news” apart.* This year is no exception, although several vendors – including Teradata and Netezza – are taking “rolling thunder” approaches, doing some of their announcements this month while holding others back for March or April.
*I probably have it worse than most people in that regard, because my clients run tentative feature lists and announcement schedules by me well in advance, which may get changed multiple times before the final dates roll around. I also occasionally miss some detail, if it wasn’t in a pre-briefing but gets added at the end.
Anyhow, the three big themes of this month’s announcements are probably:
- Integrating different kinds of analytic processing into databases and DBMS.
- Taking advantage of hardware advances.
- Playing catchup in areas where small vendors’ products weren’t mature yet.
For example, the three biggest data warehouse DBMS product announcements this month are probably:
- Aster Data nCluster 4.5. Much like Aster’s prior release — Aster Data nCluster 4.0 – Aster Data nCluster 4.5 has a major focus on integrating analytics and database processing. This time, the emphasis is on application development tools and pre-built analytic packages. In addition, Aster’s management tool GUIs have been upgraded, building on catch-up functionality in the Aster Data nCluster 4.0.
- Netezza’s “i” add-on to its existing TwinFin products. With Netezza TwinFin(i), Netezza becomes the second MPP RDBMS vendor with a comprehensive “Big Data Analytic Platform” kind of strategy. (Netezza would surely argue that it was the first, but that depends on how seriously one took Netezza’s prior attempt.) Many of the details are different from Aster’s, of course, but the general philosophy is similar. So far, Netezza has announced one interesting proprietary library of analytic packages (for linear/matrix algebra), plus the port of 4,000 or so functions in open source libraries.
- Vertica 4.0. Vertica has had a highly innovative columnar DBMS architecture from the getgo, but at the cost of some restrictions or awkwardness in the relationship between data layout and SQL processing. Vertica says that Vertica 4.0 fixes all that. In addition, it has some analytic processing enhancements, especially in the time series area, where Vertica doesn’t vigorously dispute that Sybase IQ previously had an advantage.
- Teradata is announcing its Data Warehouse Appliance 2580, the successor to the Teradata 2550. This is purely a hardware refresh; Teradata’s hardware and software upgrades are not generally synced. The Teradata 2580 upgrades CPUs from Harpertown to Nehalem, includes 3X the RAM of its predecessor, and offers an option for 1 TB disks (thus lowering the bottom price/TB a lot, to $31K list).
- Aster, Vertica, and ParAccel have all called attention to the fact that, if solid-state drives have interfaces like those of disk drives, and if a DBMS supports disk drives, then a DBMS also supports solid-state drives as well. At least Aster and ParAccel have signaled that they have at least one customer or prospect each interested in Fusion I/O’s solid-state technology, especially in the retail sector. This is basically a hardware matter as well, and a big deal only for those who were somehow unaware of the impending dominance of solid-state memory technology.
- Sybase announced its Aleri acquisition earlier this month.
- Various vendors have bragged about various rankings, awards, or benchmarks, or – sometimes less tediously — about last year’s sales results.