September 25, 2011

Ingres deemphasized, company now named Actian

Ingres, the company, is:

It turns out that Actian was the name of an ancient athletic competition commemorating Augustus’ defeat of Anthony at Actium, a battle that was more recently memorialized in the movie Cleopatra. Frankly, I think Cleopatra Software might have been a more interesting company name, although that could mean execs would have to arrive at sales calls rolled up in a carpet.

One article said:

Greg Wood, chief financial officer for Actian, told V3 that while the firm would continue to develop and maintain the Ingres database platform, its would be placing the spotlight on its Cloud Action Platform and its line of Action Apps.

“The Ingres database is well-recognised and we will continue to support it, but at the same time that brand was more associated with an older-generation technology,” Wood said.

“We think Actian better reflects where we are going as a company, particularly the application strategy.”

Wood explained that the platform would look to expand on the emerging field of big data applications by adding functionality for end users. The small, specialised applications would link up with data analytics tools, providing alerts and actions when various conditions are spotted within a database.

So what about VectorWise? Notwithstanding Actian’s stated focus on “big data”, I think VectorWise’s chances for market success are slim.* Reasons include:

*The possibility of some kind of Action App synergy leads me to elevate them to “slim” from “none”.

The Action App idea actually sounds cool, but it’s quite a change from Ingres’ previous positioning and technology, and I have no basis for judging it as likely to succeed. On the other hand, companies have occasionally made successful transitions into business intelligence from relatively unrelated businesses before, most notably Cognos in the mid-1990s.


10 Responses to “Ingres deemphasized, company now named Actian”

  1. John Ryan on September 26th, 2011 1:31 am

    Hi Curt, lots of exciting things happening with VectorWise that you might not be aware including:

    – NK, the largest social networking site in Poland (13 million Polish users compared to Facebooks 6.5 million), use both Hadoop and now VectorWise. Hadoop is used to store click stream data and collects 1TB per day, while VectorWIse powers their hardest daily queries such as feature improvements, new product offerings and advertising revenue because it is much faster for analytics.

    – Datamatics used VectorWise in their German smart meter solution which collects energy and water readings every 15 minutes. VectorWise gives them a load distribution of 9,000 queries per second and enables households to access near-real-time information on their energy usage through a portal on PC or smartphone.

    – GSI Commerce, a data aggregator, use VectorWise and can now access upto 5 years of historical data in seconds.

    Also, you should check out DeepCloud, a MPP solution built using VectorWise.

    There are also lots of exciting new VectorWise case studies and Action App announcements coming out soon so stay tuned.

  2. Curt Monash on September 26th, 2011 2:46 am

    Hi John,

    How much of that 1 TB/day winds up in VectorWise? I’m guessing a small fraction.

    Why does one need to do 9000 queries/second in system that only has a fraction of that many data points coming in. Just who is trying to find out what?

    As for the rest, neither old nor new websites are loading for me right now, and I can’t get the Google cache versions to load either, so I’m at a loss.

    Anyhow, thanks for contributing your perspective. Please keep doing do!

  3. John Ryan on September 26th, 2011 9:41 pm

    Hi Curt, thanks for your interest.

    Regarding the smart meter solution in Germany. It has been tested to handle every building in Germany. The portal where owners access the data was tested for 9000 concurrent queries per second which means that many people can access the portal per second and get their results. Users choose their time range (day, week, year, define), and their comparison (price, cumulative price, own tariff price, cumulative consumption, tariff analysis, and price vs last week/month/year, etc). If you like I’d be happy to introduce you to Datamatics so you can learn more.

    Regarding how much of NK’s daily 1TB ends up in VectorWise, I can find out or introduce you if you like. Handling 1TB isn’t an issue. We have a 5Tb demo that analyzes 1.7 billion rows in a second without aggregates or cubes. This demo is running off commodity hardware that cost only $60k. Please send me an email if you would like to see this demo or get the introductions because some people need to see how fast VectorWise is before they believe it, and we understand that.

  4. Curt Monash on September 27th, 2011 11:55 am


    I thought you were talking about a working system, not an in-house POC! In that case, 1 TB/day MIGHT have indicated 100s of TB or something. But if you’re saying 5 TB is a big system for you, that makes a lot more sense, given your architecture.



  5. Curt Monash on September 27th, 2011 12:01 pm

    And by the way,”analyzing” a lot of rows is not necessarily impressive, absent explanation of what the analysis is, what kinds of joins are involved, what kinds of arithmetic operations, how hard it is to avoid touching disk, etc.

  6. John Ryan on September 28th, 2011 1:20 am

    Hi Curt, just to clear up some confusion, I’ve referenced 3 customer examples, and then the demo we use locally. The 3 customer examples are in production, not POC. The references to their testing were given to us by the client. Once again, happy to give you an introduction if you send me an email.

    Regarding the separate 5TB demo, of course VectorWise can handle more than 5TB of data. The demo example above was on commodity hardware gives results in 1-2 seconds. If you want to increase the data size you can, but like all DBMS you will sacrifice performance. Alternatively, if you use more powerful hardware you will get that performance with larger data. And if you want to handle 100’s of terabytes or even go petabytes scale you can with DeepCloud which is an MPP solution with VectorWise at its core.

    The query types for this demo are very broad, anything really. If you let me show you the demonstration we can try any query you can think of. Difficult queries always have an effect on performance, but the more difficult the query, the better VectorWise looks in comparison to other DBMS’s. VectorWise uses Vector processing which means a single instruction can be performed on an array of data, rather than just a single element.

    Curt, I know how incredible this sounds – we get that every day. This is disruptive technology so that goes with the territory I guess. Can I suggest that you download a trial copy and surprise yourself?

    Please send me an email if you have any further questions.

  7. Curt Monash on September 28th, 2011 3:11 am


    You seem to have the impression I’m saying that your performance claims are something special if true.

    That wasn’t what I meant; I just was trying for clarification.

    Anyhow, regarding your customer Datamatics — are they actually managing smart grid data for the whole country of Germany with 9000 queries/second, or have they just built a prototype they fondly hope will some day be adopted across the country and that they have estimated based on internal tests can scale to that kind of volume?


  8. Christophe Schmitz on July 12th, 2012 4:50 am

    Hi Curt

    I can’t really comment on your view about Actian strategy, but I would like to comment about the product vectorwise. A couple of months ago, I contemplated the possibility to join vectorwise development team. I did my homework, background checking, I found a lot of praises on the net, and I found your post that scared me a little bit. Nevertheless, I joined vectorwise. After two months, I would like to state the following: not only the product is amazing, but unsurprisingly, the team behind it is fantastic.

    The following link illustrates how vectorwise stands against the competition:
    Quite amazing… 🙂
    So unless the competition miraculously catch up with vectorwise performances, I think vectorwise “chances for market success are” actually quite big!


  9. Curt Monash on July 12th, 2012 1:25 pm

    Hi Christophe,

    Thanks for posting!

    Unfortunately, having the best canned-benchmark performance on a single server with spinning disks isn’t an overwhelming market requirement. Still, it sounds as if you’re really happy with the project you’re working on, and I wish you the best of luck with it!

  10. Goodbye VectorWise, farewell ParAccel? | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on April 26th, 2013 3:57 am

    […] Actian’s brief, embarrassing pivot away from database software was a joke. (The comments at that link also show VectorWise’s positioning as very different in September, 2011 than it is now.) […]

Leave a Reply

Feed: DBMS (database management system), DW (data warehousing), BI (business intelligence), and analytics technology Subscribe to the Monash Research feed via RSS or email:


Search our blogs and white papers

Monash Research blogs

User consulting

Building a short list? Refining your strategic plan? We can help.

Vendor advisory

We tell vendors what's happening -- and, more important, what they should do about it.

Monash Research highlights

Learn about white papers, webcasts, and blog highlights, by RSS or email.