Emulation, transparency, portability

Analysis of products that support the emulation of market-leading database management systems. Related subjects include:

July 20, 2014

Data integration as a business opportunity

A significant fraction of IT professional services industry revenue comes from data integration. But as a software business, data integration has been more problematic. Informatica, the largest independent data integration software vendor, does $1 billion in revenue. INFA’s enterprise value (market capitalization after adjusting for cash and debt) is $3 billion, which puts it way short of other category leaders such as VMware, and even sits behind Tableau.* When I talk with data integration startups, I ask questions such as “What fraction of Informatica’s revenue are you shooting for?” and, as a follow-up, “Why would that be grounds for excitement?”

*If you believe that Splunk is a data integration company, that changes these observations only a little.

On the other hand, several successful software categories have, at particular points in their history, been focused on data integration. One of the major benefits of 1990s business intelligence was “Combines data from multiple sources on the same screen” and, in some cases, even “Joins data from multiple sources in a single view”. The last few years before application servers were commoditized, data integration was one of their chief benefits. Data warehousing and Hadoop both of course have a “collect all your data in one place” part to their stories — which I call data mustering — and Hadoop is a data transformation tool as well.

Read more

April 23, 2013

MemSQL scales out

The third of my three MySQL-oriented clients I alluded to yesterday is MemSQL. When I wrote about MemSQL last June, the product was an in-memory single-server MySQL workalike. Now scale-out has been added, with general availability today.

MemSQL’s flagship reference is Zynga, across 100s of servers. Beyond that, the company claims (to quote a late draft of the press release):

Enterprises are already using distributed MemSQL in production for operational analytics, network security, real-time recommendations, and risk management.

All four of those use cases fit MemSQL’s positioning in “real-time analytics”. Besides Zynga, MemSQL cites penetration into traditional low-latency markets — financial services (various subsectors) and ad-tech.

Highlights of MemSQL’s new distributed architecture start: Read more

April 15, 2013

Teradata SQL-H

As vendors so often do, Teradata has caused itself some naming confusion. SQL-H was introduced as a facility of Teradata Aster, to complement SQL-MR.* But while SQL-MR is in essence a set of SQL extensions, SQL-H is not. Rather, SQL-H is a transparency interface that makes Hadoop data responsive to the same code that would work on Teradata Aster …

*Speaking of confusion — Teradata Aster seems to use the spellings SQL/MR and SQL-MR interchangeably.

… except that now there’s also a SQL-H for regular Teradata systems as well. While it has the same general features and benefits as SQL-H for Teradata Aster, the details are different, since the underlying systems are.

I hope that’s clear. :)

February 5, 2013

Comments on Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems — concepts

The 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems is out. I’ll split my comments into two posts — this one on concepts, and a companion on specific vendor evaluations.

Links:

Let’s start by again noting that I regard Gartner Magic Quadrants as a bad use of good research. On the facts:

When it comes to evaluations, however, the Gartner Data Warehouse DBMS Magic Quadrant doesn’t do as well. My concerns (which overlap) start:

Read more

June 26, 2012

Teradata SQL-H, using HCatalog

When I grumbled about the conference-related rush of Hadoop announcements, one example of many was Teradata Aster’s SQL-H. Still, it’s an interesting idea, and a good hook for my first shot at writing about HCatalog. Indeed, other than the Talend integration bundled into Hortonworks’ HDP 1, Teradata SQL-H is the first real use of HCatalog I’m aware of.

The Teradata SQL-H idea is:

At least in theory, Teradata SQL-H lets you use a full set of analytic tools against your Hadoop data, with little limitation except price and/or performance. Teradata thinks the performance of all this can be much better than if you just use Hadoop (35X was mentioned in one particularly favorable example), but perhaps much worse than if you just copy/extract the data to an Aster cluster in the first place.

So what might the use cases be for something like SQL-H? Offhand, I’d say:

By way of contrast, the whole thing makes less sense for dashboarding kinds of uses, unless the dashboard users are very patient when they want to drill down.

May 3, 2011

Oracle and Exadata: Business and technical notes

Last Friday I stopped by Oracle for my first conversation since January, 2010, in this case for a chat with Andy Mendelsohn, Mark Townsend, Tim Shetler, and George Lumpkin, covering Exadata and the Oracle DBMS. Key points included:  Read more

August 4, 2010

ANTs Software CEO insults Sybase, claims migration success

Jeff Pryslak of Sybase put up a post insulting ANTs Software and the general idea of ANTs-aided Sybase-to-DB2 migration. CEO Joe Kozak of ANTs hit back with a rambling diatribe, which came to my attention because he mentioned my name in it, making some rather fanciful remarks about the “long” relationship I used to have with ANTs Software. (I do recall at least one briefing, plus some attempts from them to buy my services under the condition that I agree to a ridiculous NDA, which I refused to sign.)

This piqued my interest, so — recalling that ANTs is a public company — I decided to take a look at just how successful their software products business is. Well, for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, ANTs’ 10-Q filing says (emphasis mine):  Read more

June 26, 2010

Netezza’s version of EnterpriseDB-based Oracle compatibility

EnterpriseDB has some deplorable business practices (my stories of being screwed by EnterpriseDB have been met by “Well, you’re hardly the only one”). But a couple of more successful DBMS vendors have happily partnered with EnterpriseDB even so, to help pick off Oracle users. IBM’s approach was in the vein of an EnterpriseDB-infused version of SQL handling within DB2.* Netezza just announced an EnterpriseDB-based Netezza Migrator that is rather different.

*The comment threads are the most informative parts of those posts.

I’m a little unclear as to the Netezza Migrator details, not least because Netezza folks don’t seem to care too much about Netezza Migrator themselves. That said, the core ideas of Netezza Migrator are:  Read more

May 12, 2010

The Clustrix story

After my recent post, the Clustrix guys raised their hands and briefed me. Takeaways included:    Read more

January 15, 2010

Intersystems Cache’ highlights

I talked with Robert Nagle of Intersystems last week, and it went better than at least one other Intersystems briefing I’ve had. Intersystems’ main product is Cache’, an object-oriented DBMS introduced in 1997 (before that Intersystems was focused on the fourth-generation programming language M, renamed from MUMPS). Unlike most other OODBMS, Cache’ is used for a lot of stuff one would think an RDBMS would be used for, across all sorts of industries. That said, there’s a distinct health-care focus to Intersystems, in that:

Note: Intersystems Cache’ is sold mainly through VARs (Value-Added Resellers), aka ISVs/OEMs. I.e., it’s sold by people who write applications on top of it.

So far as I understand – and this is still pretty vague and apt to be partially erroneous – the Intersystems Cache’ technical story goes something like this: Read more

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