Discussion of Kognitio – formerly Whitecross – and what it dubiously claims is its in-memory analytic DBMS. Related subjects include:

Data warehousing

January 12, 2009

Database SaaS gains a little visibility

Way back in the 1970s, a huge fraction of analytic database management was done via timesharing, specifically in connection with the RAMIS and FOCUS business-intelligence-precursor fourth-generation languages.  (Both were written by Gerry Cohen, who built his company Information Builders around the latter one.)  The market for remoting-computing business intelligence has never wholly gone away since. Indeed, it’s being revived now, via everything from the analytics part of Salesforce.com to the service category I call data mart outsourcing.

Less successful to date are efforts in the area of pure database software-as-a-service.  It seems that if somebody is going for SaaS anyway, they usually want a more complete, integrated offering. The most noteworthy exceptions I can think of to this general rule are Kognitio and Vertica, and they only have a handful of database SaaS customers each. To wit: Read more

December 14, 2008

Kognitio and WX-2 update

I went to Bracknell Wednesday to spend time with the Kognitio team. I think I came away with a better understanding of what the technology is all about, and why certain choices have been made.

Like almost every other contender in the market,* Kognitio WX-2 queries disk-based data in the usual way. Even so, WX-2’s design is very RAM-centric. Data gets on and off disk in mind-numbingly simple ways – table scans only, round-robin partitioning only (as opposed to the more common hash), and no compression. However, once the data is in RAM, WX-2 gets to work, happily redistributing as seems optimal, with little concern about which node retrieved the data in the first place. (I must confess that I don’t yet understand why this strategy doesn’t create ridiculous network bottlenecks.) How serious is Kognitio about RAM? Well, they believe they’re in the process of selling a system that will include 40 terabytes of the stuff. Apparently, the total hardware cost will be in the $4 million range.

*Exasol is the big exception. They basically use disk as a source from which to instantiate in-memory databases.

Other technical highlights of the Kognitio WX-2 story include: Read more

November 7, 2008

Big scientific databases need to be stored somehow

A year ago, Mike Stonebraker observed that conventional DBMS don’t necessarily do a great job on scientific data, and further pointed out that different kinds of science might call for different data access methods. Even so, some of the largest databases around are scientific ones, and they have to be managed somehow. For example:

Long-term, I imagine that the most suitable DBMS for these purposes will be MPP systems with strong datatype extensibility — e.g., DB2, PostgreSQL-based Greenplum, PostgreSQL-based Aster nCluster, or maybe Oracle.

September 17, 2008

Netezza overseas

22% of Netezza’s revenue comes from outside the US, at least if we use last quarter’s figures as a guide.  At first blush, that doesn’t sound like much.  Indeed, percentage-wise it surely lags behind Teradata, Greenplum (which has sold a lot in Asia/Pacific under Netezza’s former head of that region), and a few smaller competitors headquartered outside the US.  But a few conversations I had today suggest a rosier view.  Read more

April 5, 2008

Positioning the data warehouse appliances and specialty DBMS

There now are four hardware vendors that each offer or seem about to announce two different tiers of data warehouse appliances: Sun, HP, EMC, and Teradata. Specifically:

Read more

January 31, 2008

Why not database SaaS?

After a flurry of recent announcements of database SaaS (Software as a Service), eWeek has published a backlash article. The angle is that database SaaS is too expensive, because you can get decent DBMS for free and per-gig usage charges might be expensive for big databases.

I think that’s missing the point. Most OLTP databases are pretty small. Or, if they’re big, they get that way through a lot of transactions. In the first case, hosted management is cheap. In the second case, hosted management is taking care of a large burden for you. Read more

January 26, 2008

Kognitio WX2 overview

I had a call today with Kognitio execs Paul Groom and John Thompson. Hopefully I can now clear up some confusion that was created in this comment thread. (Most of what I wrote about Kognitio in October, 2006 still applies.) Here are some highlights. Read more

December 14, 2007

A quick survey of data warehouse management technology

There are at least 16 different vendors offering appliances and/or software that do database management primarily for analytic purposes.* That’s a lot to keep up with,. So I’ve thrown together a little overview of the analytic data management landscape, liberally salted with links to information about specific vendors, products, or technical issues. In some ways, this is a companion piece to my prior post about data warehouse appliance myths and realities.

*And that’s just the tabular/alphanumeric guys. Add in text search and you run the total a lot higher.

Numerous data warehouse specialists offer traditional row-based relational DBMS architectures, but optimize them for analytic workloads. These include Teradata, Netezza, DATAllegro, Greenplum, Dataupia, and SAS. All of those except SAS are wholly or primarily vendors of MPP/shared-nothing data warehouse appliances. EDIT: See the comment thread for a correction re Kognitio.

Numerous data warehouse specialists offer column-based relational DBMS architectures. These include Sybase (with the Sybase IQ product, originally from Expressway), Vertica, ParAccel, Infobright, Kognitio (formerly White Cross), and Sand. Read more

November 29, 2007

Netezza has another big October quarter

Netezza reported a big October quarter, ahead of expectations. And official guidance for next quarter is essentially flat quarter-over-quarter, suggesting Q3 was indeed surprisingly big. However, Netezza’s year-over-year growth for Q3 was a little under 50%, suggesting the quarter wasn’t so remarkable after all. (Netezza has a January fiscal year.)

Tentative conclusion: Netezza just tends to have big October quarters, perhaps by timing sales cycles to finish soon after the late September user conference. If Netezza’s user conference ever moves to later in the fall, expect Q3 to be weak that year.

Netezza reported 18 new customers, double last year’s figure. Read more

October 19, 2007

Gartner 2007 Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems

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

It’s early autumn, the leaves are turning in New England, and Gartner has issued another Magic Quadrant for data warehouse DBMS(Edit: As of January, 2009, that link is dead but this one works.) The big winners vs. last year are Greenplum and, secondarily, Sybase. Teradata continues to lead. Oracle has also leapfrogged IBM, and there are various other minor adjustments as well, among repeat mentionees Netezza, DATAllegro, Sand, Kognitio, and MySQL. HP isn’t on the radar yet; ditto Vertica. Read more

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