Analysis of MySQL-based data warehouse appliance vendor Kickfire (formerly C2). Related subjects include:

October 14, 2009

Infobright notes

I had lunch w/ Bob Zurek and Susan Davis of Infobright today. This wasn’t primarily a briefing, but a few takeaways are:

August 21, 2009

Kickfire’s FPGA-based technical strategy

Kickfire’s basic value proposition is that, if you have a data warehouse in the 100s of gigabytes, they’ll sell you – for $32,000 – a tiny box that solves all your query performance problems, as per the Kickfire spec sheet. And Kickfire backs that up with a pretty cool product design. However, thanks in no small part to what was heretofore Kickfire’s penchant for self-defeating secrecy, the Kickfire story is not widely appreciated.

Fortunately, Kickfire is getting over its secrecy kick. And so, here are some Kickfire technical basics.

The new information there is that Kickfire relies on an FPGA; Read more

July 30, 2009

“The Netezza price point”

Over the past couple of years, quite a few data warehouse appliance or DBMS vendors have talked to me directly in terms of “Netezza’s price point,” or some similar phrase. Some have indicated that they’re right around the Netezza price point, but think their products are superior to Netezza’s. Others have stressed the large gap between their price and Netezza’s. But one way or the other, “Netezza’s price” has been an industry metric.

One reason everybody talks about the “Netezza (list) price” is that it hasn’t been changing much, seemingly staying stable at $50-60K/terabyte for a long time. And thus Teradata’s 2550 and Oracle’s larger-disk Exadata configuration — both priced more or less in the same range — have clearly been price-competitive with Netezza since their respective introductions.

That just changed. Netezza is cutting its pricing to the $20K/terabyte range imminently, with further cuts to come. So where does that leave competitors?

June 25, 2009

My current customer list among the analytic DBMS specialists

(This is an updated version of an August, 2008 post.)

One of my favorite pages on the Monash Research website is the list of many current and a few notable past customers. (Another favorite page is the one for testimonials.) For a variety of reasons, I won’t undertake to be more precise about my current customer list than that. But I don’t think it would hurt anything to list the analytic/data warehouse DBMS/appliance specialists in the group. They are:

All of those are Monash Advantage members.

If you care about all this, you may also be interested in the rest of my standards and disclosures.

June 7, 2009

Daniel Abadi on Kickfire and related subjects

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

Good point.

More generally, Abadi speculates about the market for MySQL-compatible data warehousing.  My responses include:

Anyhow, as previously noted, I’m a big Daniel Abadi fan. I look forward to seeing what else he posts in his blog, and am optimistic he’ll live up to or exceed its stated goals.

April 20, 2009

This week is a REALLY good time to actively strengthen the MySQL forkers

As my first three posts on the Oracle/Sun merger suggested, I think Oracle will do a better job with MySQL product development than Sun has.  But of course that’s a low hurdle.  And so it leaves open the questions:

What should and/or will be the most widely adopted code lines of MySQL (or other open source DBMS),

especially for the types of users and vendors who are engaged with MySQL (as opposed to principal alternative PostgreSQL) today?

As much as I’ve bashed MySQL/MyISAM and MySQL/InnoDB for being low-quality general-purpose DBMS, I’d still hate to see MySQL-based development stall out. There are a number of MySQL engine providers with rather unique technology, that deserve a good front-end partner to build their products with.  The high-volume sharding guys deserve the chance to continue down their current path as well.  And so does the low-end mass market — although I’m least worried about them, as I can’t imagine any realistic scenario in which Oracle doesn’t offer a version of MySQL fully suited to support 10s of millions of WordPress and Joomla installations.

So far as I can tell, there are only four real and currently active candidates for MySQL code coordinator:

Patrick Galbraith and Steven Vaughan-Nichols did good jobs of illustrating the turmoil.

Oracle isn’t a very comfortable partner long term for the storage engine vendors, and Drizzle doesn’t seem to be what they need. So I think that Infobright, Kickfire, Tokutek, Calpont, et al. need to get aligned in a hurry with an outside MySQL provider such as Percona or MariaDB or a newcomer, preferably all with the same one.  Yes, I understand that Infobright is getting a lot of marketing help from Sun these days, that Kickfire just got a nice-sounding Sun marketing announcement as well, and so on. But the time to start working toward the inevitable future is now.

And by “now” I mean “right now,” since the MySQL community is at this moment gathered together for its annual conference.

April 20, 2009

MySQL storage engine round-up, with Oracle-related thoughts

Here’s what I know about MySQL storage engines, more or less.

April 1, 2009

Lots of analytic DBMS vendors are hiring

After writing about a Twitter jobs page, it occurred to me to check out whether analytic DBMS vendors are still hiring. Based on the Careers pages on their websites, I determined that Aster, Greenplum, Kickfire, and ParAccel all evidently are, in various mixes of (mainly) technical and field positions. At that point I got bored and stopped.

I didn’t choose those vendors entirely at random. If I had to name three vendors who are said to have had small layoffs at some point over the past few quarters, it would be ParAccel, Greenplum, and Kickfire.  So if even they are hiring, the analytic DBMS sector is still pretty healthy … or at least thinks it is. 😉

March 25, 2009

Kickfire update

I talked recently with my clients at Kickfire, especially newish CEO Bruce Armstrong. I also visited the Kickfire blog, which among other virtues features a fairly clear overview of Kickfire technology. (I did my own Kickfire overview in October.) Highlights of the current Kickfire story include:

March 18, 2009

Database implications if IBM acquires Sun

Reported or rumored merger discussions between IBM and Sun are generating huge amounts of discussion today (some links below). Here are some quick thoughts around the subject of how the IBM/Sun deal — if it happens — might affect the database management system industry. Read more

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