April 17, 2011

Netezza TwinFin i-Class overview

I have long complained about difficulties in discussing Netezza’s TwinFin i-Class analytic platform. But I’m ready now, and in the grand sweep of the product’s history I’m not even all that late. The Netezza i-Class timing story goes something like this:

My advice to Netezza as to how it should describe TwinFin i-Class boils down to: 

1.  The Netezza platform has been enhanced in two major ways:

  • There’s a good way to run all kinds of analytic processes. This is very flexible and powerful, but tightly integrated with the SQL engine even so.
  • You are supplying some specific high-performing, highly parallel, big-data analytic process building blocks. More precisely, you have greatly extended the set of such building blocks; you had some cool building blocks (notably Spatial) even before this.

2.   There are four main ways to get at this:

  • Extended SQL.
  • Programming, in a bunch of languages and paradigms, integrated into the SQL.
  • Partner code, with them doing the programming for you.

Some of the rah-rah words aside, that’s a pretty fair overview. Here’s more detail.

To refresh your memory: Netezza TwinFin i-Class functionality basics include, as best I can tell (and there’s some more detail at the links above):

I forgot to check, but I’m guessing any extension of workload management to cover non-DBMS processes won’t be in the first release of Netezza i-Class.

*However, Netezza says that if you can batch requests to return even just 500-1000 records at a time, the out-of-process performance penalty — which is based on wait time for transferring data between processes — becomes insignificant.

None of that is particularly new information. But after a visit to Netezza on Tuesday, I’ve finally gotten some kind of handle on how i-Class is architected. Highlights of the Netezza i-Class architecture story, as I understand them, include:

I didn’t delve far enough into Netezza’s UDAP syntax to understand how it compares to, say, Aster’s SQL/MR.

*From a marketing standpoint, Netezza might prefer to count partner code separately as a third way, but I’m focusing on the technology here, which is used by partners and end-user organizations alike.

Other Netezza/Hadoop notes include:

The Netezza TwinFin i-Class R story goes something like this:

A recently announced Netezza partnership with Revolution Analytics is meant to lead to Revolution replacing Netezza’s ports of R libraries with its own preferred distribution, and then supporting same.

Finally, there’s Netezza Spatial.

Perhaps there are yet more pieces of the Netezza TwinFin i-Class story I’m overlooking, but I hope I now have most of the major aspects at least partway right.


5 Responses to “Netezza TwinFin i-Class overview”

  1. Luiz on April 17th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Very good insight, seems like IBM don´t missed the target in Netezza acquisition. Looks an mature and flexible product.

    Curt, do u think that IBM will improve more and more Netezza or just bought the technology to compete against Teradata/Exadata?



  2. Curt Monash on April 17th, 2011 11:05 pm


    Of course IBM is planning to enhance Netezza’s technology. Otherwise it would stop being competitive very soon.

  3. Matt Benati on April 20th, 2011 8:07 am


    Thanks for taking the time to review Netezza’s analytics capabilities. I look forward to keeping you updated as we progress. This year’s Enzee Universe user’s conference will highlight Netezza Analytics. We’ll have many customers present their use cases and results. These presentations should give you even greater context.

    Senior Director Analytics Product Marketing
    Netezza, an IBM Company

  4. Michele Chambers on April 20th, 2011 8:32 am

    Curt –

    Thank you for your thorough review of Netezza TwinFin i-Class.

    I thought it might be beneficial for your readers to make it very clear that we run R on the s-Blades inside TwinFin in addition to supporting the R client to connect to R on the TwinFin (via the packages and capabilities you described very well).

    See you in Boston at Enzee Universe in June!

    Michele Chambers
    GM & VP Analytic Solutions
    Netezza, an IBM Company

  5. links for 2011-06-25 | Bare Identity on June 25th, 2011 7:01 pm

    […] Netezza TwinFin i-Class overview | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services (tags: netezza analytics twinfin) […]

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