Analysis of Oracle Exadata and the Oracle Database Machine. Related subjects include:
Chris Kanaracus uncovered a case of Oracle actually pulling an ad after having been found “guilty” of false advertising. The essence seems to be that Oracle claimed 20X hardware performance vs. IBM, based on a comparison done against 6 year old hardware running an earlier version of the Oracle DBMS. My quotes in the article were:
- “Everybody’s guilty of that kind of exaggeration.”
- “Oracle tends to be even a little guiltier than others.”
- “If your new system can’t outperform somebody else’s old system by a huge factor on at least some queries, you’re doing something wrong.”
- “Use newer, better hardware; use newer, better software; have a top sales engineer do a great job of tuning it and of course you’ll see huge performance results.”
Another example of Oracle exaggeration was around the Exadata replacement of Teradata at Softbank. But the bogosity flows both ways. Netezza used to make a flat claim of 50X better performance than Oracle, while Vertica’s standard press release boilerplate long boasted
50x-1000x faster performance at 30% the cost of traditional solutions
Of course, reality is a lot more complicated. Even if you assume apples-to-apples comparisons in terms of hardware and software versions, performance comparisons can vary greatly depending upon queries, databases, or use cases. For example:
- Many queries are inherently much faster over columnar storage than over row-based.
- Different data sets respond very differently to various compression algorithms.
- Some analytic RDBMS can maintain strong performance at high levels of concurrent usage. Some can’t.
- Some queries that run very fast on one DBMS without tuning might require careful tuning in another system.
- Some DBMS scale out much better than others.
- Vendors optimize for different usage assumptions, which may or may not apply in your particular case.
And so, vendor marketing claims about across-the-board performance should be viewed with the utmost of suspicion.
|Categories: Columnar database management, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, Database compression, Exadata, Netezza, Oracle, Vertica Systems||Leave a 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|
I’d like to survey a few related ideas:
- Enterprises should each have a variety of different analytic data stores.
- Vendors — especially but not only IBM and Teradata — are acknowledging and marketing around the point that enterprises should each have a number of different analytic data stores.
- In addition to having multiple analytic data management technology stacks, it is also desirable to have an agile way to spin out multiple virtual or physical relational data marts using a single RDBMS. Vendors are addressing that need.
- Some observers think that the real essence of analytic data management will be in data integration, not the actual data management.
Here goes. Read more
|Categories: Data warehousing, Database diversity, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Exadata, Greenplum, Hadoop, Hortonworks, IBM and DB2, Informatica, Netezza, Oracle, Sybase, Teradata, Workload management||11 Comments|
This year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems is out.* I shall now comment, just as I did on the 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 Gartner Data Warehouse Database Management System Magic Quadrants, to varying extents. To frame the discussion, let me start by saying:
- In general, I regard Gartner Magic Quadrants as a bad use of good research.
- Illustrating the uselessness of — or at least poor execution on — the overall quadrant metaphor, a large majority of the vendors covered are lined up near the line x = y, each outpacing the one below in both of the quadrant’s dimensions.
- I find fewer specifics to disagree with in this Gartner Magic Quadrant than in previous year’s versions. Two factors jump to mind as possible reasons:
- This year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems is somewhat less ambitious than others; while it gives as much company detail as its predecessors, it doesn’t add as much discussion of overall trends. So there’s less to (potentially) disagree with.
- Merv Adrian is now at Gartner.
- Whatever the problems may be with Gartner’s approach, the whole thing comes out better than do Forrester’s failed imitations.
*As of February, 2012 — and surely for many months thereafter — Teradata is graciously paying for a link to the report.
Specific company comments, roughly in line with Gartner’s rough single-dimensional rank ordering, include: Read more
Recently, I observed that Big Data terminology is seriously broken. It is reasonable to reduce the subject to two quasi-dimensions:
- Bigness — Volume, Velocity, size
- Structure — Variety, Variability, Complexity
- High-velocity “big data” problems are usually high-volume as well.*
- Variety, variability, and complexity all relate to the simply-structured/poly-structured distinction.
But the conflation should stop there.
*Low-volume/high-velocity problems are commonly referred to as “event processing” and/or “streaming”.
When people claim that bigness and structure are the same issue, they oversimplify into mush. So I think we need four pieces of terminology, reflective of a 2×2 matrix of possibilities. For want of better alternatives, my suggestions are:
- Relational big data is data of high volume that fits well into a relational DBMS.
- Multi-structured big data is data of high volume that doesn’t fit well into a relational DBMS. Alternative: Poly-structured big data.
- Conventional relational data is data of not-so-high volume that fits well into a relational DBMS. Alternatives: Ordinary/normal/smaller relational data.
- Smaller poly-structured data is data for which dynamic schema capabilities are important, but which doesn’t rise to “big data” volume.
|Categories: Cassandra, Data models and architecture, Data warehousing, Exadata, Facebook, Google, Hadoop, HBase, Log analysis, Market share and customer counts, MarkLogic, NewSQL, NoSQL, Oracle, Splunk, Yahoo||9 Comments|
When I drafted a list of key analytics-sector issues in honor of look-ahead season, the first item was “execution of various big vendors’ ambitious initiatives”. By “execute” I mean mainly:
- “Deliver products that really meet customers’ desires and needs.”
- “Successfully convince them that you’re doing so …”
- “… at an attractive overall cost.”
Vendors mentioned here are Oracle, SAP, HP, and IBM. Anybody smaller got left out due to the length of this post. Among the bigger omissions were:
It is widely rumored that there will be a leadership change at HP (Meg Whitman in, Leo Apotheker out). In connection with that, I found myself holding forth on points such as:
- HP needs to make outstanding enterprise systems again.
- They fell away from that target under Mark Hurd, but they surely can hit it again, based on the remnants of DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Tandem, the higher-end part of Compaq, and of course the original HP systems group.
- In particular:
- Rumors say that Oracle Exadata 1 boxes, made by HP, were much lower quality than Exadata 2 boxes made by Sun.
- HP Neoview was a waste of good engineering talent.
- I’d like to see a few excellent Vertica appliances.
- I hope the SAP HANA appliances go well, whenever HANA finally becomes a serious product.
- The general move from disk to solid-state memory should offer some opportunities.
It is being suggested that Oracle is about to introduce small, (relatively) cheap Exadata boxes. Key quotes include:
We estimate a price point of $100K-$200K, well below Exadata prices of $500K-$2.5M.
- The Exadata could fit under a desk;
- Customers wouldn’t need a database admin to maintain the Exadata environment;
- The focus of the Exadata mini would be ease of management over running complex enterprise applications.
The whole thing sounds appealing, but I must confess that the idea of “zero-DBA” Oracle takes me aback. It might look OK at demo time, but I have trouble imagining it working in live production situations.
Analytic data management technology has blossomed, leading to many questions along the lines of “So which products should I use for which category of problem?” The old EDW/data mart dichotomy is hopelessly outdated for that purpose, and adding a third category for “big data” is little help.
Let’s try eight categories instead. While no categorization is ever perfect, these each have at least some degree of technical homogeneity. Figuring out which types of analytic database you have or need — and in most cases you’ll need several — is a great early step in your analytic technology planning. Read more
A couple of months ago, Oracle asked me to pull some observations on pricing until after the earnings call that just occurred, and I grudgingly acquiesced. In the interim, more information on Oracle pricing has emerged (including in the comment thread to that post). The original notes are:
Oracle disputes some common claims about its cost and pricing. In particular, Oracle software maintenance costs a fixed 22% of your annual license price, so if you get a discount on your licenses, it ripples through to your maintenance. This is true even if you have an all-you-can-eat ULA (Unlimited License Agreement).
- Based on that, Oracle contends that Exadata isn’t all that expensive if you have a suitable ULA. You have to buy the hardware and the storage software, but the database server software is effectively free. (Whether your use of additional licenses affect the price of your ULA when it comes up for renewal might, of course, be a different matter.)
- Nothing in that discussion obviates the point that if you’re just using Oracle Standard Edition, upgrading to Oracle Enterprise Edition, associated chargeable options, and/or Exadata can be seriously expensive.