April 25, 2013

Goodbye VectorWise, farewell ParAccel?

Actian, which already owns VectorWise, is also buying ParAccel. The argument for why this kills VectorWise is simple. ParAccel does most things VectorWise does, more or less as well. It also does a lot more:

One might conjecture that ParAccel is bad at highly concurrent, single-node use cases, and VectorWise is better at them — but at the link above, ParAccel bragged of supporting 5,000 concurrent connections. Besides, if one is just looking for a high-use reporting server, why not get Sybase IQ?? Anyhow, Actian hasn’t been investing enough in VectorWise to make it a major market player, and they’re unlikely to start now that they own ParAccel as well.

But I expect ParAccel to fail too. Reasons include:

2 years after being acquired, Vertica — which conceptually has always been ParAccel’s closest competitor — has finally taken major hits on engineering staffing. Even so, I expect HP Vertica to reopen what was once a large technology and momentum gap vs. ParAccel.

My views on Actian start:

I.e., building a database conglomerate is hard, and Actian isn’t up to the challenge.

Actian has three main paths it can follow for synergy:

I don’t see enough opportunity there for the whole thing to work out, with sales synergy being the best opportunity to prove me wrong.

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10 Responses to “Goodbye VectorWise, farewell ParAccel?”

  1. James Mesney on April 26th, 2013 5:20 am

    >>Concurrency … ParAccel bragged of supporting 5,000 concurrent connections

    Is that 5000 user sessions logged-in? Or 5000 user sessions logged-in and running queries? The phrase “concurrent connections” would indicate the former, which has very little to do with concurrency. There is a world of difference between managing highly concurrent workloads and just supporting lots of user sessions.

  2. Curt Monash on April 26th, 2013 7:06 am

    Good catch, James!

    Still, 5000 anythings is enough for many departmental reporting scenarios.

  3. aaron on April 26th, 2013 9:34 am

    To James’ point, any middleware based on postgres automatically gets the ability to manage 5K connections.

    The interesting point here is whatever traction Paraccel gets through AWS. If it is able to finally seed a market, that may create critical mass where currently all the other Actian tools, except ingres and pervasive – the non-column ones, don’t.

    It would take some big investment to create a more robust product…. For example taking the vectorwise optimization (supposedly better that paraccel until queries get complex) with the scale out in paraccel. It would take more, and time, to get this into some leadership role.

    So – sell to IBM or Dell?

  4. Robert Treat on April 26th, 2013 12:27 pm

    I’m skeptical of Paraccel being able to seed much of a market through AWS. We’ve already had people contacting us with problems that arise out of the ancient version of Postgres that it is built on. Not that the price point of the service isn’t compelling, but unless they are willing to put some money into development, I think there is going to be a strong need for people to develop tools to work around those deficiencies, which we have yet to see redshift users be willing to invest in.

  5. Carl Buellwinkle on April 26th, 2013 1:40 pm

    Has anyone noticed that Chuck Berger, former CEO of ParAccel already started a new job as CEO of Extreme Networks on the day of the announcement? I hear he got a nice golden parachute in this deal. Way to go Chuck, no need to go down with the ship captain!

  6. Curt Monash on April 26th, 2013 4:54 pm

    As per http://www.dbms2.com/2012/12/09/amazon-redshift-and-its-implications/, what Amazon is “seeding” the market with is a stripped down version of ParAccel that doesn’t carry over well to other deployments. It doesn’t have ParAccel’s proprietary extensions; it doesn’t have ParAccel’s performance profile; switching from it to ParAccel will be almost as hard as switching from it to any other analytic RDBMS.

  7. Curt Monash on April 26th, 2013 4:56 pm

    I doubt VectorWise has a superior optimizer to ParAccel in any significant way.

    It has superior single-node execution, perhaps, due to the vectorization it’s named after. But integrating that into ParAccel would be a bear, and Actian to my knowledge isn’t even suggesting the integration will happen.

  8. Curt Monash on April 26th, 2013 4:56 pm

    Re concurrency, I must admit I don’t know of or recall any seriously concurrent ParAccel OR VectorWise users. So I’m just speculating about that part.

  9. DBMS acquisitions | Software Memories on April 29th, 2013 7:49 am

    […] few days ago I expressed doubts about Actian’s DBMS-conglomerate growth strategy. For context, perhaps I should review other DBMS vendors’ acquisition […]

  10. More on Actian/ParAccel/VectorWise/Versant/etc. | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on April 29th, 2013 7:50 am

    […] quick reaction to the Actian/ParAccel deal was negative. A few challenges to my views then emerged. They didn’t really change my […]

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