February 17, 2013

Notes and links, February 17, 2013

1. It boggles my mind that some database technology companies still don’t view compression as a major issue. Compression directly affects storage and bandwidth usage alike — for all kinds of storage (potentially including RAM) and for all kinds of bandwidth (network, I/O, and potentially on-server).

Trading off less-than-maximal compression so as to minimize CPU impact can make sense. Having no compression at all, however, is an admission of defeat.

2. People tend to misjudge Hadoop’s development pace in either of two directions. An overly expansive view is to note that some people working on Hadoop are trying to make it be all things for all people, and to somehow imagine those goals will soon be achieved. An overly narrow view is to note an important missing feature in Hadoop, and think there’s a big business to be made out of offering it alone.

At this point, I’d guess that Cloudera and Hortonworks have 500ish employees combined, many of whom are engineers. That allows for a low double-digit number of 5+ person engineering teams, along with a number of smaller projects. The most urgently needed features are indeed being built. On the other hand, a complete monument to computing will not soon emerge.

3. Schooner’s acquisition by SanDisk has led to the discontinuation of Schooner’s SQL DBMS SchoonerSQL. Schooner’s flash-optimized key-value store Membrain continues. I don’t have details, but the Membrain web page suggests both data store and cache use cases.

4. There’s considerable personnel movement at Boston-area database technology companies right now. Please ping me directly if you care.

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

August 8, 2012

HCatalog — yes, it matters

To a first approximation, HCatalog is the thing that will make Hadoop play nicely with all kinds of ETLT (Extract/Transform/Load/Transform). However, HCatalog is both less and more than that:

The base use case for HCatalog is:

Major variants on that include: Read more

July 23, 2012

Hadoop YARN — beyond MapReduce

A lot of confusion seems to have built around the facts:

Here’s my best effort to make sense of all that, helped by a number of conversations with various Hadoop companies, but most importantly a chat Friday with Arun Murthy and other Hortonworks folks.

Read more

June 25, 2012

Why I’m so forward-leaning about Hadoop features

In my recent series of Hadoop posts, there were several cases where I had to choose between recommending that enterprises:

I favored the more advanced features each time. Here’s why.

To a first approximation, I divide Hadoop use cases into two major buckets, only one of which I was addressing with my comments:

1. Analytic data management.* Here I favored features over reliability because they are more important, for Hadoop as for analytic RDBMS before it. When somebody complains about an analytic data store not being ready for prime time, never really working, or causing them to tear their hair out, what they usually mean is that:

Those complaints are much, much, more frequent than “It crashed”. So it was for Netezza, DATAllegro, Greenplum, Aster Data, Vertica, Infobright, et al. So it also is for Hadoop. And how does one address those complaints? By performance and feature enhancements, of the kind that the Hadoop community is introducing at high speed. Read more

June 19, 2012

“Enterprise-ready Hadoop”

This is part of a four-post series, covering:

The posts depend on each other in various ways.

Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR all claim, in effect, “Our version of Hadoop is enterprise-ready, unlike those other guys’.” I’m dubious.

That said, “enterprise-ready Hadoop” really is an important topic.

So what does it mean for something to be “enterprise-ready”, in whole or in part? Common themes in distinguishing between “enterprise-class” and other software include:

For Hadoop, as for most things, these concepts overlap in many ways. Read more

June 19, 2012

Hadoop distributions: CDH 4, HDP 1, Hadoop 2.0, Hadoop 1.0 and all that

This is part of a four-post series, covering:

The posts depend on each other in various ways.

My clients at Cloudera and Hortonworks have somewhat different views as to the maturity of various pieces of Hadoop technology. In particular:

*”CDH” stands, due to some trademarking weirdness, for “Cloudera’s Distribution including Apache Hadoop”. “HDP” stands for “Hortonworks Data Platform”.

Read more

June 19, 2012

Hadoop marketing themes that deserve to be ignored

This is part of a four-post series, covering:

The posts depend on each other in various ways.

I am subjected to much Hadoop marketing. Indeed, I even help various clients inflict Hadoop marketing upon the world. But a guy’s got to draw a line somewhere, and there are certain Hadoop marketing themes that I just refuse to take seriously.

1. Big data. I think the term “big data” long ago jumped the shark. If a firm uses the term “big data”, I teeth-grittingly let it pass. But if they send me PR email offering to “explain” the benefits or “real meaning” of “big data”, my response is apt to be unkind.

2. Conference-timed news. I’ve never liked the custom of multiple vendors piling announcements into the same conference week. It seems like a calculated strategy to ensure getting the least possible mind share and attention — unless, of course, your announcement is so lame that brief mentions in conference-week roundups are the most visibility you can hope to get. Even so, many vendors make the marketing choice to pile on. Fine. But I’ll write in response if and when I feel like it.

3. Contribution Olympics. The Urinary Olympics as to who contributed more lines of code, patches, whatever to various Hadoop sub-projects got pretty silly; and although it peaked last year, elements of it are with us still. I do see two scenarios where the whole discussion might have genuine value, namely:

Otherwise, however, I pay little attention to claims like “We thought this scheme up 2 years ago, and hence we’re the experts on whether it’s now ready for production.”

April 24, 2012

Notes on the Hadoop and HBase markets

I visited my clients at Cloudera and Hortonworks last week, along with scads of other companies. A few of the takeaways were:

April 24, 2012

Three quick notes about derived data

I had one of “those” trips last week:

So please pardon me if things are a bit disjointed …

I’ve argued for a while that:

Here are a few notes on the derived data trend. Read more

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