Analysis of MySQL-based data warehouse appliance vendor Kickfire (formerly C2). Related subjects include:

August 28, 2016

Are analytic RDBMS and data warehouse appliances obsolete?

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:

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.

Read more

October 3, 2010

Notes and links October 3 2010

Some notes, follow-up, and links before I head out to California:  Read more

August 12, 2010

Teradata’s future product strategy

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.
Read more

August 9, 2010

Links and observations

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

July 27, 2010

Kickfire unlikely to survive

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.

June 11, 2010

Kickfire update

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.

March 18, 2010

XtremeData update

I talked with Geno Valente of XtremeData tonight. Highlights included:

Naming aside, Read more

November 23, 2009

Comments on a fabricated press release quote

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

October 25, 2009

Reports of perfectly-balanced hardware configurations are greatly exaggerated

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:

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.

October 18, 2009

Kickfire capacity and pricing

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:

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