The main thing in Aster Data nCluster Version 4.6 is Aster’s version of hybrid row-column store technology. Technical highlights include:
- Aster Data is simply taking the number of storage options in nCluster up from 1 to 2 – you now can store a table either in the Aster Data nCluster row store or column store.
- In fact, you can store parts of a table in the Aster Data nCluster row store and other parts in the Aster Data nCluster column store. I‘m a bit foggy on the details of that – Aster makes discussions of partitioning more complicated than they need to be — but it definitely sounds pretty flexible. Edit: See comment thread below.
- Anything you can do with the Aster Data nCluster row store you can also do with the Aster Data nCluster column store. In particular, that includes all of Aster Data’s analytic functionality.
- The same is true vice-versa. There is no columnar-oriented kind of compression in Aster Data nCluster at this time.
So Aster Data has now joined Greenplum/EMC among row-based analytic DBMS vendors with hybrid row-column stores. Oracle will join them some day, and the same probably applies to other row-based vendors as well. Similarly, Aster Data will probably join Oracle some day in having columnar compression. And so this all fits the model:
- Aster Data has an impressively competitive analytic relational DBMS, considering the youth and size of the company.
- Aster Data is a leader in extending its analytic relational DBMS by integrating in other analytic processing capabilities.
Aster Data’s nCluster Version 4.6 slide deck has a couple of cool use case slides, which I got permission to post. Taken together, they tell a story in which you might want to store raw data in rows, derived data in columns, and additional derived data also in rows. Slick.
In other Aster Data news, I spoke with Aster’s new CEO Quentin Gallivan last week (making it two calls with Aster while I was on vacation). He didn’t say anything that made me cringe in horror, which is pretty much the best that can be expected at this stage of his tenure, at least given his lack of background in closely-related technology areas.* Former CEO Mayank Bawa is going to be head of all services, with a title of “Chief Customer Officer” to match co-founder Tasso Agyros’ title “Chief Technical Officer.” I expect that to go well.
*Somehow, former execs of the big DBMS companies aren’t doing well in the DBMS start-up CEO searches. Truth be told, I can’t think of anybody that’s getting overlooked too badly. Some folks I thought could be major stars coming out of less-than-top jobs at Oracle in the 1990s haven’t really hit it big as CEOs – e.g. Dennis Moore, Nimish Mehta, or Polly Sumner. And not a lot of candidates come to mind from more recent generations of execs. Perhaps this underscores just how different Oracle’s business now is from that of Aster Data, Vertica, Infobright, or ParAccel, to name four analytic DBMS vendors that recently changed CEO.