Discussion of aspiring data warehouse software/appliance specialist Calpont. 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.
Two subjects in one post, because they were too hard to separate from each other
Any sufficiently complex software is developed in modules and subsystems. DBMS are no exception; the core trinity of parser, optimizer/planner, and execution engine merely starts the discussion. But increasingly, database technology is layered in a more fundamental way as well, to the extent that different parts of what would seem to be an integrated DBMS can sometimes be developed by separate vendors.
Major examples of this trend — where by “major” I mean “spanning a lot of different vendors or projects” — include:
- The object/relational, aka universal, extensibility features developed in the 1990s for Oracle, DB2, Informix, Illustra, and Postgres. The most successful extensions probably have been:
- Geospatial indexing via ESRI.
- Full-text indexing, notwithstanding questionable features and performance.
- MySQL storage engines.
- MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) analytic RDBMS relying on single-node PostgreSQL, Ingres, and/or Microsoft SQL Server — e.g. Greenplum (especially early on), Aster (ditto), DATAllegro, DATAllegro’s offspring Microsoft PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse), or Hadapt.
- Splits in which a DBMS has serious processing both in a “database” layer and in a predicate-pushdown “storage” layer — most famously Oracle Exadata, but also MarkLogic, InfiniDB, and others.
- SQL-on-HDFS — Hive, Impala, Stinger, Shark and so on (including Hadapt).
Other examples on my mind include:
- Data manipulation APIs being added to key-value stores such as Couchbase and Aerospike.
- TokuMX, the Tokutek/MongoDB hybrid I just blogged about.
- NuoDB’s willing reliance on third-party key-value stores (or HDFS in the role of one).
- FoundationDB’s strategy, and specifically its acquisition of Akiban.
And there are several others I hope to blog about soon, e.g. current-day PostgreSQL.
In an overlapping trend, DBMS increasingly have multiple data manipulation APIs. Examples include: 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
One thing I love about DBMS 2 is the really smart comments a number of readers — that would be you guys — make. However, not all the smart comments are made in the first 5 minutes a post is up, so some readers (unless you circle back) might miss great points other readers make. Well, here are some pointers to some of what you might have missed, along with other follow-up comments to old posts while I’m at it. Read more
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|
Since its inception, Calpont has gone through multiple management teams, strategies, and investor groups. What it hadn’t done, ever, is actually shipped a product. Last week, however, Calpont introduced a free/open source DBMS, InfiniDB, with technical details somewhat reminiscent of what Calpont was promising last April. Highlights include:
- Like Infobright, Calpont’s InfiniDB is a columnar DBMS consisting of a MySQL front end and a columnar storage engine.
- Community edition InfiniDB runs on a single server.
- One of commercial/enterprise edition InfiniDB’s main claims to fame will be MPP support.
- There’s no announced time frame for commercial edition InfiniDB.
- InfiniDB’s current compression story is dictionary/token only, with decompression occurring before joins are executed. Improvement is a roadmap item.
- Indeed, InfiniDB has many roadmap items, a few of which can be found here. Also, a great overview of InfiniDB’s current state and roadmap can be found in this MySQL Performance Blog thread. (And follow the links there to find performance discussions of other free analytic DBMS.)
- One thing InfiniDB already has that is still a roadmap item for Infobright is the ability to run a query across multiple cores at once.
- One thing free InfiniDB has that Infobright only offers in its Enterprise Edition is ACID-compliant Insert/Update/Delete. (Note: I wish people would stop saying that Infobright Enterprise Edition isn’t ACID-compliant, since that point was cleared up a while ago.)
- InfiniDB has no indexes or materialized views.
- However, InfiniDB’s retrieval is expedited by something called “Extents,” which sounds a lot like Netezza’s zone maps.
Being on vacation, I’ll stop there for now. (If it weren’t for Tropical Storm/ depression Ida, I might not even be posting this much until I get back.)
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Calpont, Columnar database management, Data warehousing, Database compression, Infobright, MySQL, Open source||3 Comments|
Daniel Abadi has a new blog, whose first post centers around Kickfire. The money quote is (emphasis mine):
In order for me to get excited about Kickfire, I have to ignore Mike Stonebraker’s voice in my head telling me that DBMS hardware companies have been launched many times in the past are ALWAYS fail (the main reasoning is that Moore’s law allows for commodity hardware to catch up in performance, eventually making the proprietary hardware overpriced and irrelevant). But given that Moore’s law is transforming into increased parallelism rather than increased raw speed, maybe hardware DBMS companies can succeed now where they have failed in the past
More generally, Abadi speculates about the market for MySQL-compatible data warehousing. My responses include:
- OF COURSE there are many MySQL users who need to move to a serious analytic DBMS.
- What’s less clear is whether there’s any big advantage to those users in remaining MySQL-compatible when they do move. I’m not sure what MySQL-specific syntax or optimizations they’d have that would be difficult to port to a non-MySQL system.
- It’s nice to see Abadi speaking well of Infobright and its technology.
- To say that Infobright went open source because it was “desperate” is overstated. That said, I don’t think Infobright was on track to prosper without going open source.
- While open source and MySQL go together, an appliance like Kickfire loses many (not all) of the benefits of open source.
- Calpont has indeed never disclosed a customer win. Any year now … (Just kidding, Vogel!)
- In general, seeing Abadi be so favorable toward Vertica competitors adds credibiity to the recent Hadoop vs. DBMS paper.
|Categories: Calpont, Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, DBMS product categories, Infobright, Kickfire, MySQL, Open source, Theory and architecture||2 Comments|
Here’s what I know about MySQL storage engines, more or less.
- MySQL with MyISAM is fast. But it’s not transactional. Except for limited purposes, MySQL with MyISAM is a pretty crummy DBMS. Nothing can change that.
- MySQL with InnoDB is transactional. But it’s not particularly fast. MySQL with InnoDB is a pretty mediocre DBMS. Oracle could fix that, at least partially, over time.
- I don’t know much about Falcon, Maria, and so on. With Oracle winding up owning both MySQL and InnoDB, the motivation for those engines (except as Oracle-free forks) might fade.
- Infobright is the most established of the rest. At the moment I’m not recommending it for most industrial-strength uses unless the user is particularly cash-constrained. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed soon. A cheap, fast, simple columnar analytic DBMS has a place in the world.
- Kickfire is next in line, offering a hardware-based growth path for users who’ve maxed out on what unaided MySQL can do. It remains to be seen for how many users the desire to keep things simple and stay with MySQL outweighs the desire to avoid custom hardware. Having Oracle salespeople all over those accounts surely wouldn’t help. Kickfire also has a second market, namely OEM vendors who are mainly interested in the superfast chip. That would probably be pretty unaffected by Oracle.
- Tokutek offers a technical proposition that’s hard to match head-on without going the CEP route. Users who care are likely to be MySQL shops. Tokutek’s main challenge is to prove that it sufficiently outdoes competing technical strategies for sufficiently many users. Oracle ownership of MySQL seems pretty irrelevant to Tokutek’s success or failure.
- Calpont offers a kind of lightweight Exadata alternative. With Calpont’s packaging and positioning perennially unclear, it’s difficult to predict the effect of a particular change — i.e., Oracle buying MySQL — in Calpont’s market environment.
- I haven’t heard from transactionally-oriented ScaleDB since I wrote about them a year ago. Apparently, they’re rolling out beta product this week, and their venerable techie guru sadly passed away earlier this month.
|Categories: Calpont, Columnar database management, Data warehousing, Exadata, Infobright, Kickfire, MySQL, Open source, Oracle, Tokutek and TokuDB||14 Comments|
Calpont has gone through a lot of strategy iterations since its founding. The super-short version is that Calpont originally planned an appliance built around a SQL chip, much like Kickfire. But after various changes in management and venture backing, Calpont turned itself into a software-only analytic DBMS vendor relying on a MySQL front end. Calpont is now at the stage of announcing an Early Adopter program at the MySQL conference on Wednesday, although details of Calpont’s product release timing, pricing, feature set, etc. are all To Be Determined.
Minor highlights of the Calpont technical story include: Read more
|Categories: Calpont, Columnar database management, Data warehousing, MySQL, Open source, Parallelization, Theory and architecture||Leave a Comment|
- SANs (Storage Area Networks) are pulling ahead of DAS (Direct Attached Storage).
- Much of the growth in storage is due to data warehousing.
- MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) is pulling ahead of SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing) for high-end data warehousing.
- MPP architectures are commonly shared-nothing.
- Shared-nothing entails DAS.
But if you think about it, those facts don’t exactly add up. Read more