Database compression

Analysis of technology that compresses data within a database management system. Related subjects include:

February 6, 2013

Key questions when selecting an analytic RDBMS

I recently complained that the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse DBMS conflates many use cases into one set of rankings. So perhaps now would be a good time to offer some thoughts on how to tell use cases apart. Assuming you know that you really want to manage your analytic database with a relational DBMS, the first questions you ask yourself could be:

Let’s drill down. Read more

February 5, 2013

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 is correct, however, to note that Kognitio doesn’t sell much stuff overall.

* non-existent

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

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.


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

January 15, 2013

Tokutek update

Alternate title: TokuDB updates :)

Now that I’ve addressed some new NewSQL entrants, namely NuoDB and GenieDB, it’s time to circle back to some more established ones. First up are my clients at Tokutek, about whom I recently wrote:

Tokutek turns a performance argument into a functionality one. In particular, Tokutek claims that TokuDB does a much better job than alternatives of making it practical for you to update indexes at OLTP speeds. Hence, it claims to do a much better job than alternatives of making it practical for you to write and execute queries that only make sense when indexes (or other analytic performance boosts) are in place.

That’s all been true since I first wrote about Tokutek and TokuDB in 2009. However, TokuDB’s technical details have changed. In particular, Tokutek has deemphasized the ideas that:

Rather, Tokutek’s new focus for getting the same benefits is to provide a separate buffer for each node of a b-tree. In essence, Tokutek is taking the usual “big blocks are better” story and extending it to indexes. TokuDB also uses block-level compression. Notes on that include: Read more

January 12, 2013

Introduction to NuoDB

NuoDB has an interesting NewSQL story. NuoDB’s core design goals seem to be:

Read more

December 2, 2012

Are column stores really better at compression?

A consensus has evolved that:

Still somewhat controversial is the claim that:

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

November 29, 2012

Notes on Microsoft SQL Server

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:

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.

Read more

October 24, 2012

Quick notes on Impala

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:

Beyond that: Read more

October 23, 2012

Introduction to Platfora

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:

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

September 27, 2012

Hoping for true columnar storage in Oracle12c

I was asked to clarify one of my July comments on Oracle12c,

I wonder whether Oracle will finally introduce a true columnar storage option, a year behind Teradata. That would be the obvious enhancement on the data warehousing side, if they can pull it off. If they can’t, it’s a damning commentary on the core Oracle codebase.

by somebody smart who however seemed to have half-forgotten my post comparing (hybrid) columnar compression to (hybrid) columnar storage.

In simplest terms:

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