Actian and Ingres

Analysis of Actian — formerly Ingres — and its products. Related subjects include:

Actian product VectorWise
Open source database management systems
(in Software Memories) Historical notes on Ingres

January 12, 2009

Gartner’s 2008 data warehouse database management system Magic Quadrant is out

February, 2011 edit: I’ve now commented on Gartner’s 2010 Data Warehouse Database Management System Magic Quadrant as well.

Gartner’s annual Magic Quadrant for data warehouse DBMS is out.  Thankfully, vendors don’t seem to be taking it as seriously as usual, so I didn’t immediately hear about it.  (I finally noticed it in a Greenplum pay-per-click ad.)  Links to Gartner MQs tend to come and go, but as of now here are two working links to the 2008 Gartner Data Warehouse Database Management System MQ.  My posts on the 2007 and 2006 MQs have also been updated with working links. Read more

January 22, 2008

What leading DBMS vendors don’t want you to realize

For very high-end applications, the list of viable database management systems is short. Scalability can be a problem. (The rankings of most scalable alternatives differ in the OLTP and data warehouse realms.) Extreme levels of security can be had from only a few DBMS. (Oracle would have you believe there’s only one choice.) And if you truly need 99.99% uptime, there only are a few DBMS you even should consider.

But for most applications at any enterprise – and for all applications at most enterprises – super high-end DBMS aren’t required. There are relatively few applications that wouldn’t run perfectly well on PostgreSQL or EnterpriseDB today. Ingres and Progress OpenEdge aren’t far behind (they’re a little lacking in datatype support). Ditto Intersystems Cache’, although the nonrelational architecture will be off-putting to many. And to varying degrees, you can also do fine with MySQL, Pervasive PSQL, MaxDB, or a variety of other products – or for that matter with the cheap or free crippled versions of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Informix.

What’s more, these mid-range database management systems can have significant advantages over their high-end brethren. Read more

April 18, 2007

Naming the DBMS disruptors

Edit: This post has largely been superseded by this more recent one defining mid-range relational DBMS.

I find myself defining a new product category – midrange OLTP/multipurpose DBMS. (Or just midrange DBMS for brevity.) Nothing earthshaking here; I’m simply referring to those products that: Read more

March 14, 2007

EnterpriseDB tries PostgreSQL-based Oracle plug-compatibility

Like Greenplum, EnterpriseDB is a PostgreSQL-based DBMS vendor with an interesting story, whose technical merits I don’t yet know enough to judge. In particular, CEO Andy Astor:

Also, EnterpriseDB has added a bunch of tools to PostgreSQL – debugging, DBA, etc. And it provides actual-company customer support, something that seems desirable when using a DBMS. It should also be noted that the product is definitely closed-source, notwithstanding EnterpriseDB’s open-source-like business model and its close ties to the open source community.
Read more

March 8, 2007

Ingres tries to become relevant again

Ingres has non-trivial resources – 300 employees, 10,000 “real” customers, and some additional large number of installations embedded in CA products. It has a fairly pure support-only open source revenue model, although there may be exceptions to that in cases such as the DATAllegro relationship.

Should anybody care?

Yes and no. To compete effectively in the mid-range OLTP relational database management system market, you need a product that’s much easier to administer than Oracle, and preferably easier even than Microsoft SQL*Server. Ingres doesn’t meet that standard. Until it does, it probably won’t have much of a market outside its current installed base. But some of Ingres’s strategies and directions are pretty clever, and may be interesting to people who’d never actually consider using Ingres technology. Specifically, Ingres has plans in the areas of appliances and database services, two subjects that are close to my heart. Read more

February 27, 2007

OLTP database management system market – the consensus isn’t ALL wrong (deck-clearing post #1)

Most of what I’ve written lately about database management seems to have been focused on analytic technologies. But I have a lot to say on the OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) side too. So let’s start by clearing the decks. Here’s a list of some consensus views that I in essence agree with:

September 20, 2006

Myths about DATallegro, Ingres, open source, etc.

Sometimes, when one talks to a company about a close competitor, what one hears may not be 100% strictly accurate. Yesterday, I more than once heard claims that sounded oddly like “DATallegro has to open source whatever software it develops.” Today, DATallegro CEO Stuart Frost clarified as follows:

• DATallegro has no (little?) legal obligation to open source anything. Even the version of Ingres they use is not the GPL one.
• They do give a few enhancements back to Ingres (via open source?) rather than maintain them themselves.
• The whole MPP technology is proprietary, in every sense of “proprietary.” (For example, they use a whole different optimizer than Ingres’s. I’ve forgotten whether the Ingres optimizer is also left in place.)

August 12, 2006

Introduction to Greenplum and some compare/contrast

Netezza relies on FPGAs. DATallegro essentially uses standard components, but those include Infiniband cards (and there’s a little FPGA action when they do encryption). Greenplum, however, claims to offer a highly competitive data warehouse solution that’s so software-only you can download it from their web site. That said, their main sales mode seems to also be through appliances, specifically ones branded and sold by Sun, combining Greenplum and open source software on a “Thumper” box. And the whole thing supposedly scales even higher than DATallegro and Netezza, because you can manage over a petabyte if you chain together a dozen of the 100 terabyte racks.
Read more

July 12, 2006

Ingres’s questionable target market

Eric Lai of Computerworld interviewed Roger Burkhardt, new CEO of Ingres, and obviously did a bang-up job of asking him the tough “Who really are your target customers, and why would they buy from you?” questions. The answer, so far as I can tell, is “Large financial institutions writing new RDBMS apps that don’t need up-to-date functionality and don’t want to pay Oracle’s license fees.” Up to a point, that makes sense. Except for the “financial institutions” qualifier, it’s actually pretty obvious. I can’t imagine why any other new users would buy Ingres, which has been ever the bridesmaid, never the bride for the past 20 years.
Read more

July 3, 2006

DATallegro’s technical strategy

Few areas of technology boast more architectural diversity than data warehousing. Mainframe DB2 is different from Teradata, which is different from the leading full-spectrum RDBMS, which are different from disk-based appliances, which are different from memory-centric solutions, which are different from disk-based MOLAP systems, and so on. What’s more, no two members of the same group are architected the same way; even the market-leading general purpose DBMS have important differences in their data warehousing features.

The hot new vendor on the block is DATallegro, which is stealing much of the limelight formerly enjoyed by data warehouse appliance pioneer Netezza. (After some good early discussions, Netezza abruptly reneged on a promise a year ago to explain more about its technology workings to me, and I’ve hardly heard from them since. Yes, they’re still much bigger than DATallegro, but I suspect they’ve hit some technical roadblocks, and their star is fading.)

Read more

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