Analysis of MySQL-based data warehouse appliance vendor Kickfire (formerly C2). Related subjects include:
I used to spend most of my time — blogging and consulting alike — on data warehouse appliances and analytic DBMS. Now I’m barely involved with them. The most obvious reason is that there have been drastic changes in industry structure:
- Many of the independent vendors were swooped up by acquisition.
- None of those acquisitions was a big success.
- Microsoft did little with DATAllegro.
- Netezza struggled with R&D after being bought by IBM. An IBMer recently told me that their main analytic RDBMS engine was BLU.
- I hear about Vertica more as a technology to be replaced than as a significant ongoing market player.
- Pivotal open-sourced Greenplum. I have detected few people who care.
- Ditto for Actian’s offerings.
- Teradata claimed a few large Aster accounts, but I never hear of Aster as something to compete or partner with.
- Smaller vendors fizzled too. Hadapt and Kickfire went to Teradata as more-or-less acquihires. InfiniDB folded. Etc.
- Impala and other Hadoop-based alternatives are technology options.
- Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and to some extent SAP/Sybase are still pedaling along … but I rarely talk with companies that big.
Simply reciting all that, however, begs the question of whether one should still care about analytic RDBMS at all.
My answer, in a nutshell, is:
Analytic RDBMS — whether on premises in software, in the form of data warehouse appliances, or in the cloud – are still great for hard-core business intelligence, where “hard-core” can refer to ad-hoc query complexity, reporting/dashboard concurrency, or both. But they aren’t good for much else.
Some notes, follow-up, and links before I head out to California: Read more
|Categories: GIS and geospatial, Google, HP and Neoview, Humor, Kickfire, Netezza, Solid-state memory, Teradata, Web analytics||3 Comments|
I think Teradata’s future product strategy is coming into focus. I’ll start by outlining some particular aspects, and then show how I think it all ties together.
|Categories: Business intelligence, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Kickfire, MicroStrategy, Solid-state memory, Storage, Teradata||5 Comments|
I’m back from a trip to the SF Bay area, with a lot of writing ahead of me. I’ll dive in with some quick comments here, then write at greater length about some of these points when I can. From my trip: Read more
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Aster Data, Calpont, Cassandra, Couchbase, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, EMC, Exadata, Facebook, Greenplum, HP and Neoview, Kickfire, NoSQL, OLTP, ParAccel, Sybase, XtremeData||1 Comment|
Following up on a previous report of Kickfire’s troubles — a Kickfire customer tipped me off that Kickfire told him they’re selling their IP and engineers, and the Kickfire products will be discontinued.
At this time, I have no idea who the lucky buyer is.
Edit: We now know it’s Teradata.
A Kickfire competitor tipped me off that he got 3 Kickfire salesmen’s resumes in 24 hours. I ran this by Kickfire CEO Bruce Armstrong, who confirmed that Kickfire has had a layoff, but gave me no further details.
Bruce also told me that Kickfire is now up to 10 paying customers, and that there are repeat deals.
|Categories: Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Kickfire, Market share and customer counts||3 Comments|
I talked with Geno Valente of XtremeData tonight. Highlights included:
- XtremeData still hasn’t sold any dbX stuff (they’ve had a side business in generic FPGA-based boards paying the bills for years). Well, there may have been some paid POCs (proofs of concept) or something, but real sales haven’t come through yet.
- XtremeData does have three prospects who have said “Yes”, and expects one order to come through this month.
- XtremeData continues to believe it shines when:
- Data models are complex
- In particular, there are complex joins
- In particular, two large tables have to be joined with each other, under circumstances where no product can avoid doing vast data redistribution
- XtremeData insists that all the nice things Bill Inmon – including in webinars — has said about it has not been for pay or other similar business compensation. That’s quite unusual.
- XtremeData is coming out with a new product, codenamed the Personal Data Warehouse (PDW), which:
- Is ready to go into beta test
- Should be launched in a month and a half or so
- Will have a different name when it is launched
Naming aside, Read more
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Benchmarks and POCs, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Database compression, Kickfire, Market share and customer counts, Netezza, Pricing, XtremeData||5 Comments|
My clients at Kickfire put out a press release last week quoting me as saying things I neither said nor believe. The press release is about a “Queen For A Day” kind of contest announced way back in April, in which users were invited to submit stories of their data warehouse problems, with the biggest sob stories winning free Kickfire appliances. The fabricated “quote” reads: Read more
|Categories: About this blog, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Kickfire, Market share and customer counts, Sybase||3 Comments|
Data warehouse appliance and software appliance vendors like to claim that they’ve worked out just the right hardware configuration(s), and that a single configuration is correct for a fairly broad range of workloads. But there are a lot of reasons to be dubious about that. Specific vendor evidence includes:
- Teradata ascribes considerable importance to a Virtual Storage technology whose main purpose is to allow mixing of heterogeneous storage devices in a single system. And the discussion rarely suggests that these parts will be in a rigid fixed relationship.
- Netezza — as Teradata keeps reminding me — often sells boxes with the expectation that they won’t be filled with data, so as to increase spindle count and hence performance.
- Oracle/Sun have dropped some comments about Exadata being more flexibly configured going forward.
- Kickfire’s new “high-end” appliance lets you attach fairly arbitrary amounts of external storage.
- And of course, software-only analytic DBMS vendors run their software in all sorts of hardware and storage environments.
What’s more, the claim never made a lot of sense anyway. With the rarest of exceptions, even a single data warehouse’s workload will contain different queries that strain different parts of the system in different ratios. Calculating the “ideal” hardware configuration for that single workload would be forbiddingly difficult. And even if one could calculate it, it almost surely would be different than another user’s “ideal” configuration. How a single hardware configuration can be “ideally balanced” for a broad class of use cases boggles the imagination.
|Categories: Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Exadata, Kickfire, Netezza, Oracle, Teradata||6 Comments|
Kickfire’s marketing communication efforts are still a work in progress. Kickfire did finally relax its secrecy about FPGA-vs.-custom-silicon – not coincidentally during Netezza’s recent publicity cycle. That wise choice helped Kickfire get some favorable attention recently for its technical and market strategy, e.g. from Daniel Abadi, Merv Adrian and, kicking things off — as it were — me. Weeks after a recent Kickfire product release, there’s finally a fairly accurate data sheet up, although there’s still one self-defeatingly misleading line I’ll comment on below. Pricing is a whole other area of confusion, although it seems that current list prices have been inadvertently* leaked in Merv’s post linked above, with only one inaccuracy that I can detect.**
*I gather from the company that they forgot to tell Merv pricing was NDA.
** Merv cited a price as “starting” that I believe to be top-of-the-line. No criticism of Merv is implied in that; Kickfire has not been very clear in communicating hard numbers.
All that said, if one takes Kickfire’s marketing statements literally, Kickfire list pricing is around $20-50K per terabyte for a few small, fixed, high-performance configurations. That’s all-in, for plug-and-play appliances. What’s more, that range is based on the actual published user data capacity numbers for various Kickfire models, which I think are low for several reasons:
- Kickfire doesn’t officially admit that its model with 14.4 terabytes of disk can manage more than 6 terabytes of data, even though it clearly can.
- Actually, those 14.4 terabytes of disk can be increased or lowered as you choose.
- The basic compression figures implied in those calculations seem conservative.
- Compression figures are a lot more conservative yet, in that Kickfire assumes you’ll have a lot of actual indexes on your data. I’m not sure that’s necessary for most workloads.
|Categories: Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Database compression, Kickfire, Pricing||3 Comments|