I had dinner tonight with the Kognitio folks. So far as I can tell:
- Branding has been mercifully simplified. Everything is now called “Kognitio” (as opposed to, for example, “WX2″).
- Notwithstanding its long history of selling disk-based DBMS and denigrating memory-only configurations, Kognitio now says that in fact it’s always been an in-memory DBMS vendor.
- Notwithstanding its long history of selling (or attempting to sell) analytic DBMS, Kognitio wants to be viewed as an accelerator to your existing DBMS. This is apparently inspired in part by SAP HANA, notwithstanding that HANA’s direction is to evolve into a hybrid OLTP/analytic general-purpose DBMS.
- Notwithstanding its lack of analytic platform features, Kognitio wants to be viewed as selling an analytic platform.
- Notwithstanding its memory-centric focus, Kognitio doesn’t want to compress data. Kognitio’s opinion — which to my knowledge is shared by few people outside Kognitio — seems to be that the CPU cost of compression/decompression isn’t justified by the RAM savings from compression.
- Kognitio still is pushing a cloud/SaaS (Software as a Service) story. Even if you want to use Kognitio (the product) on-premises, Kognitio (the company) calls that “private cloud” and offers to let you pay annually.
Kognitio believes that this story is appealing, especially to smaller venture-capital-backed companies, and backs that up with some frieNDA pipeline figures.
Between that success claim and SAP’s HANA figures, it seems that the idea of using an in-memory DBMS to accelerate analytics has legs. This makes sense, as the BI vendors — Qlik Tech excepted — don’t seem to be accomplishing much with their proprietary in-memory alternatives. But I’m not sure that Kognitio would be my first choice to fill that role. Rather, if I wanted to buy an unsuccessful analytic RDBMS to use as an in-memory accelerator, I might consider ParAccel, which is columnar, has an associated compression story, has always had a hybrid memory-centric flavor much as Kognitio has, and is well ahead of Kognitio in the analytic platform derby. That said, I’ll confess to not having talked with or heard much about ParAccel for a while, so I don’t know if they’ve been able maintain technical momentum any more than Kognitio has.