Columnar database management
Analysis of products and issues in column-oriented database management systems. Related subjects include:
Well-resourced Silicon Valley start-ups typically announce their existence multiple times. Company formation, angel funding, Series A funding, Series B funding, company launch, product beta, and product general availability may not be 7 different “news events”, but they’re apt to be at least 3-4. Platfora, no exception to this rule, is hitting general availability today, and in connection with that I learned a bit more about what they are up to.
In simplest terms, Platfora offers exploratory business intelligence against Hadoop-based data. As per last weekend’s post about exploratory BI, a key requirement is speed; and so far as I can tell, any technological innovation Platfora offers relates to the need for speed. Specifically, I drilled into Platfora’s performance architecture on the query processing side (and associated data movement); Platfora also brags of rendering 100s of 1000s of “marks” quickly in HTML5 visualizations, but I haven’t a clue as to whether that’s much of an accomplishment in itself.
Platfora’s marketing suggests it obviates the need for a data warehouse at all; for most enterprises, of course, that is a great exaggeration. But another dubious aspect of Platfora marketing actually serves to understate the product’s merits — Platfora claims to have an “in-memory” product, when what’s really the case is that Platfora’s memory-centric technology uses both RAM and disk to manage larger data marts than could reasonably be fit into RAM alone. Expanding on what I wrote about Platfora when it de-stealthed: Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, Columnar database management, Data warehousing, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, Market share and customer counts, Memory-centric data management, Platfora, Workload management||11 Comments|
The cardinal rules of DBMS development
Rule 1: Developing a good DBMS requires 5-7 years and tens of millions of dollars.
That’s if things go extremely well.
Rule 2: You aren’t an exception to Rule 1.
- Concurrent workloads benchmarked in the lab are poor predictors of concurrent performance in real life.
- Mixed workload management is harder than you’re assuming it is.
- Those minor edge cases in which your Version 1 product works poorly aren’t minor after all.
DBMS with Hadoop underpinnings …
… aren’t exceptions to the cardinal rules of DBMS development. That applies to Impala (Cloudera), Stinger (Hortonworks), and Hadapt, among others. Fortunately, the relevant vendors seem to be well aware of this fact. Read more
Perhaps the single toughest question in all database technology is: Which different purposes can a single data store serve well? — or to phrase it more technically — Which different usage patterns can a single data store support efficiently? Ted Codd was on multiple sides of that issue, first suggesting that relational DBMS could do everything and then averring they could not. Mike Stonebraker too has been on multiple sides, first introducing universal DBMS attempts with Postgres and Illustra/Informix, then more recently suggesting the world needs 9 or so kinds of database technology. As for me — well, I agreed with Mike both times.
Since this is MUCH too big a subject for a single blog post, what I’ll do in this one is simply race through some background material. To a first approximation, this whole discussion is mainly about data layouts — but only if we interpret that concept broadly enough to comprise:
- Every level of storage (disk, RAM, etc.).
- Indexes, aggregates and raw data alike.
To date, nobody has ever discovered a data layout that is efficient for all usage patterns. As a general rule, simpler data layouts are often faster to write, while fancier ones can boost query performance. Specific tradeoffs include, but hardly are limited to: Read more
Comments on Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems — evaluations
To my taste, the most glaring mis-rankings in the 2012/2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management are that it is too positive on Kognitio and too negative on Infobright. Secondarily, it is too negative on HP Vertica, and too positive on ParAccel and Actian/VectorWise. So let’s consider those vendors first.
Gartner seems confused about Kognitio’s products and history alike.
- Gartner calls Kognitio an “in-memory” DBMS, which is not accurate.
- Gartner doesn’t remark on Kognitio’s worst-in-class* compression.
- Gartner gives Kognitio oddly high marks for a late, me-too Hadoop integration strategy.
- Gartner writes as if Kognitio’s next attempt at the US market will be the first one, which is not the case.
- Gartner says that Kognitio pioneered data warehouse SaaS (Software as a Service), which actually has existed since the pre-relational 1970s.
Gartner is correct, however, to note that Kognitio doesn’t sell much stuff overall.
In the cases of HP Vertica, Infobright, ParAccel, and Actian/VectorWise, the 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management’s facts are fairly accurate, but I dispute Gartner’s evaluation. When it comes to Vertica: Read more
A consensus has evolved that:
- Columnar compression (i.e., value-based compression) compresses better than block-level compression (i.e., compression of bit strings).
- Columnar compression can be done pretty well in row stores.
Still somewhat controversial is the claim that:
- Columnar compression can be done even better in column stores than in row-based systems.
A strong plausibility argument for the latter point is that new in-memory analytic data stores tend to be columnar — think HANA or Platfora; compression is commonly cited as a big reason for the choice. (Another reason is that I/O bandwidth matters even when the I/O is from RAM, and there are further reasons yet.)
One group that made the in-memory columnar choice is the Spark/Shark guys at UC Berkeley’s AMP Lab. So when I talked with them Thursday (more on that another time, but it sounds like cool stuff), I took some time to ask why columnar stores are better at compression. In essence, they gave two reasons — simplicity, and speed of decompression.
In each case, the main supporting argument seemed to be that finding the values in a column is easier when they’re all together in a column store. Read more
|Categories: Columnar database management, Database compression, Databricks, Spark and BDAS, In-memory DBMS, Netezza||10 Comments|
I’ve been known to gripe that covering big companies such as Microsoft is hard. Still, Doug Leland of Microsoft’s SQL Server team checked in for phone calls in August and again today, and I think I got enough to be worth writing about, albeit at a survey level only,
Subjects I’ll mention include:
- Parallel Data Warehouse
- Columnar data management
- In-memory data management (Hekaton)
One topic I can’t yet comment about is MOLAP/ROLAP, which is a pity; if anybody can refute my claim that ROLAP trumps MOLAP, it’s either Microsoft or Oracle.
Microsoft’s slides mentioned Yahoo refining a 6 petabyte Hadoop cluster into a 24 terabyte SQL Server “cube”, which was surprising in light of Yahoo’s history as an Oracle reference.
|Categories: Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Database compression, Hadoop, Hortonworks, In-memory DBMS, MapReduce, Market share and customer counts, Microsoft and SQL*Server, Oracle, Yahoo||9 Comments|
Edit: There is now a follow-up post on Cloudera Impala with substantially more detail.
In my world it’s possible to have a hasty 2-hour conversation, and that’s exactly what I had with Cloudera last week. We touched on hardware and general adoption, but much of the conversation was about Cloudera Impala, announced today. Like Hive, Impala turns Hadoop into a basic analytic RDBMS, with similar SQL/Hadoop integration benefits to those of Hadapt. In particular:
- Impala is Hive-compatible in query language (HQL, which is a whole lot like SQL), metadata, JDBC/ODBC drivers, etc.
- Unlike Hive, Impala does not work through Hadoop MapReduce.
- Unlike Hadoop MapReduce and hence Hive, Impala does not persist intermediate results to disk. This is good for performance, but on extremely long-running queries it increases the risk you’ll have a node failure and have to restart the query from scratch.
- Impala in its first version is missing some Hive syntax, notably in support for UDFs (User-Defined Functions).
Beyond that: Read more
|Categories: Cloudera, Columnar database management, Database compression, Hadapt, Hadoop, MapReduce, Open source, SQL/Hadoop integration||6 Comments|
When I wrote last week that I have at least 5 clients claiming they’re uniquely positioned to support BI over Hadoop (most of whom partner with a 6th client, Tableau) the non-partnering exception I had in mind was Platfora, Ben Werther’s oh-so-stealthy startup that is finally de-stealthing today. Platfora combines:
- An interesting approach to analytic data management.
- Business intelligence tools integrated with that.
The whole thing sounds like a perhaps more general and certainly non-SaaS version of what Metamarkets has been offering for a while.
The Platfora technical story starts: Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, Columnar database management, Data models and architecture, Data warehousing, Database compression, Hadoop, Memory-centric data management, Platfora||6 Comments|
My clients at Hadapt are coming out with a Version 2 to be available in Q1 2013, and perhaps slipstreaming some of the features before then. At that point, it will be reasonable to regard Hadapt as offering:
- A very tight integration between an RDBMS-based analytic platform and Hadoop …
- … that is decidedly immature as an analytic RDBMS …
- … but which strongly improves the SQL capabilities of Hadoop (vs., say, the alternative of using Hive).
Solr is in the mix as well.
Hadapt+Hadoop is positioned much more as “better than Hadoop” than “a better scale-out RDBMS”– and rightly so, due to its limitations when viewed strictly from an analytic RDBMS standpoint. I.e., Hadapt is meant for enterprises that want to do several of:
- Dump multi-structured data into Hadoop.
- Refine or just move some of it into an RDBMS.
- Bring in data from other RDBMS.
- Process of all the above via Hadoop MapReduce.
- Process of all the above via SQL.
- Use full-text indexes on the data.
Hadapt has 6 or so production customers, a dozen or so more coming online soon, 35 or so employees (mainly in Cambridge or Poland), reasonable amounts of venture capital, and the involvement of a variety of industry luminaries. Hadapt’s biggest installation seems to have 10s of terabytes of relational data and 100s of TBs of multi-structured; Hadapt is very confident in its ability to scale an order of magnitude beyond that with the Version 2 product, and reasonably confident it could go even further.
At the highest level, Hadapt works like this: Read more
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Cloudera, Columnar database management, Data models and architecture, Data warehousing, Hadapt, Hadoop, MapR, MapReduce, Market share and customer counts, SQL/Hadoop integration, Text||4 Comments|
I’m not at Oracle OpenWorld, but as usual that won’t keep me from commenting. My bottom line on the first night’s announcements is:
- At many large enterprises, Oracle has a lock on much of their IT efforts. (But not necessarily in the internet or investigative analytics areas.) Tonight’s announcements serve to strengthen that.
- Tonight’s announcements do little to help Oracle in other market segments.
1. At the highest level, my view of Oracle’s strategy is the same as it’s been for several years:
Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution teaches us that Oracle should focus on selling a thick stack of technology to its highest-end customers, and that’s exactly what Oracle does focus on.
2. Tonight’s news is closely in line with what Oracle’s Juan Loaiza told me three years ago, especially:
- Oracle thinks flash memory is the most important hardware technology of the decade, one that could lead to Oracle being “bumped off” if they don’t get it right.
- Juan believes the “bulk” of Oracle’s business will move over to Exadata-like technology over the next 5-10 years. Numbers-wise, this seems to be based more on Exadata being a platform for consolidating an enterprise’s many Oracle databases than it is on Exadata running a few Especially Big Honking Database management tasks.
3. Oracle is confusing people with its comments on multi-tenancy. I suspect:
- What Oracle is talking about when it says “multi-tenancy” is more like consolidation than true multi-tenancy.
- Probably there are a couple of true multi-tenancy features as well.
4. SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors don’t want to use Oracle, because they don’t want to pay for it.* This limits the potential impact of Oracle’s true multi-tenancy features. Even so: Read more
|Categories: Business intelligence, Cloud computing, Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Exadata, Memory-centric data management, Oracle, Software as a Service (SaaS), Solid-state memory, Storage||9 Comments|