Schooner Information Technology

Analysis and discussion of Schooner Information Technology and the Schooner appliances.

April 14, 2013

Introduction to Deep Information Sciences and DeepDB

I talked Friday with Deep Information Sciences, makers of DeepDB. Much like TokuDB — albeit with different technical strategies — DeepDB is a single-server DBMS in the form of a MySQL engine, whose technology is concentrated around writing indexes quickly. That said:

*For reasons that do not seem closely related to product reality, DeepDB is marketed as if it supports “unstructured” data today.

Other NewSQL DBMS seem “designed for big data and the cloud” to at least the same extent DeepDB is. However, if we’re interpreting “big data” to include multi-structured data support — well, only half or so of the NewSQL products and companies I know of share Deep’s interest in branching out. In particular:

Edit: MySQL has some sort of an optional NoSQL interface, and hence so presumably do MySQL-compatible TokuDB, GenieDB, Clustrix, and MemSQL.

Also, some of those products do not today have the transparent scale-out that Deep plans to offer in the future.

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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.

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January 5, 2013

NewSQL thoughts

I plan to write about several NewSQL vendors soon, but first here’s an overview post. Like “NoSQL”, the term “NewSQL” has an identifiable, recent coiner — Matt Aslett in 2011 — yet a somewhat fluid meaning. Wikipedia suggests that NewSQL comprises three things:

I think that’s a pretty good working definition, and will likely remain one unless or until:

To date, NewSQL adoption has been limited.

That said, the problem may lie more on the supply side than in demand. Developing a competitive SQL DBMS turns out to be harder than developing something in the NoSQL state of the art.

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June 27, 2012

Schooner got acquired by SanDisk

SanDisk has acquired my client Schooner Information Technology. Notes on that include:

That’s about all I have at this time.

March 31, 2012

Our clients, and where they are located

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below, the first since a little over a year ago. To be clear:

For reasons explained below, I’ll group the clients geographically. Obviously, companies often have multiple locations, but this is approximately how it works from the standpoint of their interactions with me. Read more

October 23, 2011

Transparent relational OLTP scale-out

There’s a perception that, if you want (relatively) worry-free database scale-out, you need a non-relational/NoSQL strategy. That perception is false. In the analytic case it’s completely ridiculous, as has been demonstrated by Teradata, Vertica, Netezza, and various other MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) analytic DBMS vendors. And now it’s false for short-request/OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) use cases as well.

My favorite relational OLTP scale-out choice these days is the SchoonerSQL/dbShards partnership. Schooner Information Technology (SchoonerSQL) and Code Futures (dbShards) are young, small companies, but I’m not too concerned about that, because the APIs they want you to write to are just MySQL’s. The main scenarios in which I can see them failing are ones in which they are competitively leapfrogged, either by other small competitors – e.g. ScaleBase, Akiban, TokuDB, or ScaleDB — or by Oracle/MySQL itself. While that could suck for my clients Schooner and Code Futures, it would still provide users relying on MySQL scale-out with one or more good product alternatives.

Relying on non-MySQL NewSQL startups, by way of contrast, would leave me somewhat more concerned. (However, if their code is open sourced. you have at least some vendor-failure protection.) And big-vendor scale-out offerings, such as Oracle RAC or DB2 pureScale, may be more complex to deploy and administer than the MySQL and NewSQL alternatives.

October 23, 2011

Schooner pivots further

Schooner Information Technology started out as a complete-system MySQL appliance vendor. Then Schooner went software-only, but continued to brag about great performance in configurations with solid-state drives. Now Schooner has pivoted further, and is emphasizing high availability, clustered performance, and other hardware-agnostic OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) features. Fortunately, Schooner has some interesting stuff in those areas to talk about.

The short form of the SchoonerSQL (as Schooner’s product is now called) story goes roughly like this:

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October 2, 2011

Defining NoSQL

A reporter tweeted:  ”Is there a simple plain English definition for NoSQL?” After reminding him of my cynical yet accurate Third Law of Commercial Semantics, I gave it a serious try, and came up with the following. More precisely, I tweeted the bolded parts of what’s below; the rest is commentary added for this post.

NoSQL is most easily defined by what it excludes: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity. If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you’re in the NoSQL mainstream. Read more

September 30, 2011

Oracle NoSQL is unlikely to be a big deal

Alex Williams noticed that there will be a NoSQL session at Oracle OpenWorld next week, and is wondering whether this will be a big deal. I think it won’t be.

There really are three major points to NoSQL.

Oracle can address the latter two points as aggressively as it wishes via MySQL. It so happens I would generally recommend MySQL enhanced by dbShards, Schooner, and/or dbShards/Schooner, rather than Oracle-only MySQL … but that’s a detail. In some form or other, Oracle’s MySQL is a huge player in the scale-out, open source, short-request database management market.

So that leaves us with dynamic schemas. Oracle has at least four different sets of technology in that area:

If Oracle is now refreshing and rebranding one or more of these as “NoSQL”, there’s no reason to view that as a big deal at all.

*That’s Mike Olson’s former company, if you’re keeping score at home.

July 15, 2011

Soundbites: the Facebook/MySQL/NoSQL/VoltDB/Stonebraker flap, continued

As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:

Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:

And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.

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