December 7, 2007

ANALYTIC is the antonym of TRANSACTIONAL

In 1993, Ted Codd introduced the term OLAP (OnLine Analytic Processing) to describe data management that wasn’t optimized for OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing). Later in the 1990s, Henry Morris of IDC introduced the term analytic applications to describe apps that weren’t transactional. Since then, no better word than “analytic” has emerged to cover the broad class of IT apps and technologies that aren’t focused on transactional processing.

In the latest incarnation, analytic appliances are coming to the fore. A few weeks apart, Netezza introduced the term to say that Netezza systems were more than just data warehouse appliances, and Vertica used the term to describe, you guessed it, Vertica’s new data warehouse appliances. At first blush, this may seem like an instance of Monash’s First Law of Commercial Semantics (“Bad jargon drives out good”). But I think Vertica’s usage is legitimate, and will prevail. Analytic appliances are little more than data warehouse appliances renamed.

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