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

Data warehousing

April 11, 2007

Deal prospects for data warehouse DBMS vendors

The fourth Monash Letter is now posted for Monash Advantage members (just 3 pages this time). It’s about forthcoming M&A in data warehouse DBMS, something that seems likely just because of the large number of current players. Some of the observations are:

March 19, 2007

DATAllegro vs. Vertica and other columnar systems

Stuart Frost of DATAllegro offered an interesting counter today to columnar DBMS architectures — vertical partitioning. In particular, he told me of a 120 terabyte (growing soon to 250 terabytes) call data record database, in which a few key columns were separated out. Read more

January 27, 2007

Data warehouse appliance hardware strategies

Recently, I’ve done extensive research into the hardware strategies of computing appliance vendors, across multiple functional areas. Data warehousing, firewall/unified threat management, antispam, data integration – you name it, I talked to them. Of course, each vendor has a unique twist. But some architectural groupings definitely emerged.

The most common approaches seem to be:

Type 1: Custom assembly from off-the-shelf parts. In this model, the only unusual (but still off-the-shelf) parts are usually in the area of network acceleration (or occasionally encryption). Also, the box may be balanced differently than standard systems, in terms of compute power and/or reliability.

Type 2 (Virtual): We don’t need no stinkin’ custom hardware. In this model, the only “appliancy” features are in the areas of easy deployment, custom operating systems, and/or preconfigured hardware.

And of course there are also appliances of Type 0: Custom hardware including proprietary ASICs or FPGAs.

Different markets had different emphases; e.g., firewall appliances are typically Type 1, while antispam devices cluster in Type 2. But the data warehouse appliance market is highly diverse, which maybe shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, the revenue market leader is non-appliance software vendor Oracle, while noisy upstart Netezza is famous for its FPGA. Read more

January 22, 2007

Who’s who in columnar relational database management systems

The best known columnar RDBMS is surely Sybase’s IQ Accelerator, evolved from a product acquired in the mid-1990s. Problem – it doesn’t have a shared-nothing architecture of the sort needed to exploit grid/blade technology. Whoops. The other recognized player is SAND, but I don’t know a lot about them. Based on their website, it would seem that grids and compression play a big part in their story. Less established but pretty interesting is Kognitio, who are just beginning to make marketing noise outside the UK. SAP’s BI Accelerator is also a compressed columnar system, but operates entirely in-memory and hence is limited in possible database size. Mike Stonebraker’s startup Vertica is of course the new kid on the block, and there are other columnar startups as well whose names currently escape me.

Read more

January 22, 2007

Are row-oriented RDBMS obsolete?

If Mike Stonebraker is to be believed, the era of columnar data stores is upon us.

Whether or not you buy completely into Mike’s claims, there certainly are cool ideas in his latest columnar offering, from startup Vertica Systems. The Vertica corporate site offers little detail, but Mike tells me that the product’s architecture closely resembles that of C-Store, which is described in this November, 2005 paper.

The core ideas behind Vertica’s product are as follows. Read more

October 5, 2006

Introduction to Kognitio WX-2

Kognitio called me for a briefing this morning on their WX-2 product. Technical highlights included:

Much like the other “new” MPP data warehouse vendors, Kognitio claims to never have knowingly been outbenchmarked, whether on performance or on TCO factors such as ease of installation.
Read more

August 8, 2005

Down with database consolidation!

As with all changes in information technology, the move to DBMS2 will largely be one of evolution. But it does have a couple of revolutionary aspects.

Short-term, the biggest change is a renunciation of database and DBMS vendor consolidation. Consolidation never has worked, it never will work, and as data integration technologies keep improving it’s not that important anyway.

IBM and Oracle offer really great, brilliantly complex data warehousing technology. But if you want the most bang for the buck, forget about them, and go instead with a specialty vendor. Depending on the specifics of your situation, Teradata, Netezza, Datallego, WhiteCross, or SAP may offer the best choice, and that list could be even longer.

Similarly, for generic OLTP data management, cheap and/or open source options are getting ever more attractive. Microsoft is a serious contender for applications that previously only Oracle and IBM could handle, while MySQL and maybe Ingres are moving up the food chain right behind.

In many cases, these alternative technologies are lower-cost across the board: Lower purchase price, lower ongoing maintenance fees, and lower administrative costs.

So what, again, is the case for consolidation?

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