Analysis of cloud computing, especially as applied to database management and analytics. Related subjects include:
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|
I successfully resisted telephone consulting while on vacation, but I did do some by email. One was on the oft-recurring subject of Hadoop adoption. I think it’s OK to adapt some of that into a post.
Notes on past and current Hadoop adoption include:
- Enterprise Hadoop adoption is for experimental uses or departmental production (as opposed to serious enterprise-level production). Indeed, it’s rather tough to disambiguate those two. If an enterprise uses Hadoop to search for new insights and gets a few, is that an experiment that went well, or is it production?
- One of the core internet-business use cases for Hadoop is a many-step ETL, ELT, and data refinement pipeline, with Hadoop executing some or many of the steps. But I don’t think that’s in production at many enterprises yet, except in the usual forward-leaning sectors of financial services and (we’re all guessing) national intelligence.
- In terms of industry adoption:
- Financial services on the investment/trading side are all over Hadoop, just as they’re all over any technology. Ditto national intelligence, one thinks.
- Consumer financial services, especially credit card, are giving Hadoop a try too, for marketing and/or anti-fraud.
- I’m sure there’s some telecom usage, but I’m hearing of less than I thought I would. Perhaps this is because telcos have spent so long optimizing their data into short, structured records.
- Whatever consumer financial services firms do, retailers do too, albeit with smaller budgets.
Thoughts on how Hadoop adoption will look going forward include: Read more
|Categories: Cloud computing, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Hadoop, Investment research and trading, Telecommunications||3 Comments|
It feels like time to write about Clustrix, which I last covered in detail in May, 2010, and which is releasing Clustrix 4.0 today. Clustrix and Clustrix 4.0 basics include:
- Clustrix makes a short-request processing appliance.
- As you might guess from the name, Clustrix is clustered — peer-to-peer, with no head node.
- The Clustrix appliance uses flash/solid-state storage.
- Traditionally, Clustrix has run a MySQL-compatible DBMS.
- Clustrix 4.0 introduces JSON support. More on that below.
- Clustrix 4.0 introduces a bunch of administrative features, and parallel backup.
- Also in today’s announcement is a Rackspace partnership to offer Clustrix remotely, at monthly pricing.
- Clustrix has been shipping product for about 4 years.
- Clustrix has 20 customers in production, running >125 Clustrix nodes total.
- Clustrix has 60 people.
- List price for a (smallest size) Clustrix system is $150K for 3 nodes. Highest-end maintenance costs 15%.
- There’s also a $100K version meant for high availability/disaster recovery. Over half of Clustrix’s customers use off-site disaster recovery.
- Clustrix is raising a C round. Part of it has already been raised from insiders, as a kind of bridge.
The biggest Clustrix installation seems to be 20 nodes or so. Others seem to have 10+. I presume those disaster recovery customers have 6 or more nodes each. I’m not quite sure how the arithmetic on that all works; perhaps the 125ish count of nodes is a bit low.
Clustrix technical notes include: Read more
|Categories: Cloud computing, Clustering, Clustrix, Database compression, Market share and customer counts, MySQL, OLTP, Pricing, Structured documents||4 Comments|
This is part of a three-post series:
The canonical Metamarkets batch ingest pipeline is a bit complicated.
- Data lands on Amazon S3 (uploaded or because it was there all along).
- Metamarkets processes it, primarily via Hadoop and Pig, to summarize and denormalize it, and then puts it back into S3.
- Metamarkets then pulls the data into Hadoop a second time, to get it ready to be put into Druid.
- Druid is notified, and pulls the data from Hadoop at its convenience.
By “get data read to be put into Druid” I mean:
- Build the data segments (recall that Druid manages data in rather large segments).
- Note metadata about the segments.
That metadata is what goes into the MySQL database, which also retains data about shards that have been invalidated. (That part is needed because of the MVCC.)
By “build the data segments” I mean:
- Make the sharding decisions.
- Arrange data columnarly within shard.
- Build a compressed bitmap for each shard.
When things are being done that way, Druid may be regarded as comprising three kinds of servers: Read more
I previously dropped a few hints about my clients at Metamarkets, mentioning that they:
- Have built vertical-market analytic platform technology.
- Use a lot of Hadoop.
- Throw good parties. (That’s where the background photo on my Twitter page comes from.)
But while they’re a joy to talk with, writing about Metamarkets has been frustrating, with many hours and pages of wasted of effort. Even so, I’m trying again, in a three-post series:
Much like Workday, Inc., Metamarkets is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company, with numerous tiers of servers and an affinity for doing things in RAM. That’s where most of the similarities end, however, as Metamarkets is a much smaller company than Workday, doing very different things.
Metamarkets’ business is SaaS (Software as a Service) business intelligence, on large data sets, with low latency in both senses (fresh data can be queried on, and the queries happen at RAM speed). As you might imagine, Metamarkets is used by digital marketers and other kinds of internet companies, whose data typically wants to be in the cloud anyway. Approximate metrics for Metamarkets (and it may well have exceeded these by now) include 10 customers, 100,000 queries/day, 80 billion 100-byte events/month (before summarization), 20 employees, 1 popular CEO, and a metric ton of venture capital.
To understand how Metamarkets’ technology works, it probably helps to start by realizing: Read more
In August 2010, I wrote about Workday’s interesting technical architecture, highlights of which included:
- Lots of small Java objects in memory.
- A very simple MySQL backing store (append-only, <10 tables).
- Some modernistic approaches to application navigation.
- A faceted approach to BI.
I caught up with Workday recently, and things have naturally evolved. Most of what we talked about (by my choice) dealt with data management, business intelligence, and the overlap between the two.
It is now reasonable to say that Workday’s servers fall into at least seven tiers, although we talked mainly about five that work together as a kind of giant app/database server amalgamation. The three that do noteworthy data management can be described as:
- In-memory objects and transactions. This is similar to what Workday had before.
- Persistent MySQL. Part of this is similar to what Workday had before. In addition, Workday is now storing certain data in tables in the ordinary relational way.
- In-memory caching and indexing. This has three aspects:
- Indexes for the ordinary relational tables, organized in interesting ways.
- Indexes for Workday’s search-box navigation (as per my original Workday technical post, you can search across objects, task-names, etc.).
- Compressed copies of the Java objects, used to instantiate other servers as needed. The most obvious uses of this are:
- Recovery for the object/transaction tier.
- Launch for the elastic compute tier. (Described below.)
Two other Workday server tiers may be described as: Read more
I had dinner tonight with the Kognitio folks. So far as I can tell:
- Branding has been mercifully simplified. Everything is now called “Kognitio” (as opposed to, for example, “WX2″).
- Notwithstanding its long history of selling disk-based DBMS and denigrating memory-only configurations, Kognitio now says that in fact it’s always been an in-memory DBMS vendor.
- Notwithstanding its long history of selling (or attempting to sell) analytic DBMS, Kognitio wants to be viewed as an accelerator to your existing DBMS. This is apparently inspired in part by SAP HANA, notwithstanding that HANA’s direction is to evolve into a hybrid OLTP/analytic general-purpose DBMS.
- Notwithstanding its lack of analytic platform features, Kognitio wants to be viewed as selling an analytic platform.
- Notwithstanding its memory-centric focus, Kognitio doesn’t want to compress data. Kognitio’s opinion — which to my knowledge is shared by few people outside Kognitio — seems to be that the CPU cost of compression/decompression isn’t justified by the RAM savings from compression.
- Kognitio still is pushing a cloud/SaaS (Software as a Service) story. Even if you want to use Kognitio (the product) on-premises, Kognitio (the company) calls that “private cloud” and offers to let you pay annually.
Kognitio believes that this story is appealing, especially to smaller venture-capital-backed companies, and backs that up with some frieNDA pipeline figures.
Between that success claim and SAP’s HANA figures, it seems that the idea of using an in-memory DBMS to accelerate analytics has legs. This makes sense, as the BI vendors — Qlik Tech excepted — don’t seem to be accomplishing much with their proprietary in-memory alternatives. But I’m not sure that Kognitio would be my first choice to fill that role. Rather, if I wanted to buy an unsuccessful analytic RDBMS to use as an in-memory accelerator, I might consider ParAccel, which is columnar, has an associated compression story, has always had a hybrid memory-centric flavor much as Kognitio has, and is well ahead of Kognitio in the analytic platform derby. That said, I’ll confess to not having talked with or heard much about ParAccel for a while, so I don’t know if they’ve been able maintain technical momentum any more than Kognitio has.
|Categories: Cloud computing, Data warehousing, Database compression, Kognitio, Memory-centric data management, ParAccel, Software as a Service (SaaS)||2 Comments|
I visited my clients at Cloudera and Hortonworks last week, along with scads of other companies. A few of the takeaways were:
- Cloudera now has 220 employees.
- Cloudera now has over 100 subscription customers.
- Over the past year, Cloudera has more than doubled in size by every reasonable metric.
- Over half of Cloudera’s customers use HBase, vs. a figure of 18+ last July.
- Omer Trajman — who by the way has made a long-overdue official move into technical marketing — can no longer keep count of how many petabyte-scale Hadoop clusters Cloudera supports.
- Cloudera gets the majority of its revenue from subscriptions. However, professional services and training continue to be big businesses too.
- Cloudera has trained over 12,000 people.
- Hortonworks is training people too.
- Hortonworks now has 70 employees, and plans to have 100 or so by the end of this quarter.
- A number of those Hortonworks employees are executives who come from seriously profit-oriented backgrounds. Hortonworks clearly has capitalist intentions.
- Hortonworks thinks a typical enterprise Hadoop cluster has 20-50 nodes, with 50-100 already being on the large side.
- There are huge amounts of Elastic MapReduce/Hadoop processing in the Amazon cloud. Some estimates say it’s the majority of all Amazon Web Services processing.
- I met with 4 young-company clients who I regard as building vertical analytic stacks (WibiData, MarketShare, MetaMarkets, and ClearStory). All 4 are heavily dependent on Hadoop. (The same isn’t as true of older companies who built out a lot of technology before Hadoop was invented.)
- There should be more HBase information at HBaseCon on May 22.
- If MapR still has momentum, nobody I talked with has noticed.
|Categories: Amazon and its cloud, ClearStory Data, Cloud computing, Cloudera, Hadoop, HBase, Hortonworks, MapR, MapReduce, Market share and customer counts, Petabyte-scale data management, WibiData||1 Comment|
Various reporters have asked me about Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings conference call. Specific Q&A includes:
What did Oracle do to have its earnings beat Wall Street’s estimates?
Have a bad second quarter and then set Wall Street’s expectations too low for Q3. This isn’t about strong results; it’s about modest expectations.
Can Oracle be a leader in both hardware and software?
- It’s not inconceivable.
- The observation that Oracle, IBM, and Teradata all are pushing hardware-software combinations has been intriguing ever since IBM bought Netezza. (SAP really isn’t, however; ditto Microsoft.)
- I do think Oracle may be somewhat overoptimistic as to how cooperative the Sun user base will be in buying more high-end product and in paying more in maintenance for the gear they already have.
Beyond that, please see below.
What about Oracle in the cloud?
MySQL is an important cloud supplier. But Oracle overall hasn’t demonstrated much understanding of what cloud technology and business are all about. An expensive SaaS acquisition here or there could indeed help somewhat, but it seems as if Oracle still has a very long way to go.
|Categories: Cloud computing, Exadata, Humor, In-memory DBMS, Oracle, SAP AG, Software as a Service (SaaS)||5 Comments|
As a new year approaches, it’s the season for lists, forecasts and general look-ahead. Press interviews of that nature have already begun. And so I’m working on a trilogy of related posts, all based on an inquiry about hot analytic trends for 2012.
This post is a moderately edited form of an actual interview. Two other posts cover analytic trends to watch (planned) and analytic vendor execution challenges to watch (already up).
|Categories: Business intelligence, Cloud computing, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, EMC, Greenplum, HP and Neoview, QlikTech and QlikView, SAP AG, Software as a Service (SaaS), Tableau Software, Vertica Systems||4 Comments|