DATAllegro Announces Massive Data Warehouse Appliance

DATAllegro claims the new C25 appliance it announced last week is the lowest price-per-terabyte system on the market

For a latecomer to the high-end data warehousing party, start-up vendor DATAllegro Inc. hasn’t wasted much time attacking the entrenched giants—namely, data warehousing appliance market-starter Netezza Corp. and high-end data warehousing specialist Teradata, a division of NCR Corp.

Last week, the company announced the release of DATAllegro C25, a high-end data warehousing appliance with support for up to 25 terabytes of data. At $450,000, DATAllegro claims that the C25 is the lowest price-per-terabyte data warehouse appliance on the market.

It also marks an aggressive ramp-up for a company that just four months ago seemed to have its sights fixed on the one-to-five terabyte data warehousing segment. “What we really try to do is fit into the gap between Oracle and Teradata,” said DATAllegro CEO Stuart Frost in March. “Oracle runs out of steam after 1 TB or so, and Teradata isn’t really interested in sites less than 5 TB. So we think it’s an under-served part of the market.”

What changed? Arch-competitor Netezza’s ambitions, for one thing. This May, that company announced a new 100 TB data warehouse appliance that was quadruple the size of its then-current high-end product. Netezza’s new NPS 10000 Series consists of two new models, the NPS 10400 and NPS 10800, which are designed to support data warehouse footprints of 50 and 100 terabytes, respectively. For a company like DATAllegro, which has strategically targeted smaller capacity segments than those contested by Netezza and Teradata, the NPS 10000 Series expansion was a golden opportunity.

DATAllegro’s new appliances, like the P3 (maximum 3 TB capacity) data warehousing systems the company announced earlier this year, are based on commodity Intel hardware (Xeon EMT64 processors) and (lower-cost) Serial-ATA storage devices. They also run open-source operating system (Linux) and database (Ingres) software. The Xeon EMT64 chips support 64-bit extensions, which allow the low-cost Xeon to scale to near-RISC or -Itanium heights.

What’s more, the C25’S 25 TB capacity limitation isn’t absolute. The company says customers can link several of its C25 systems together to create a large system image of greater than 25 TB. To facilitate interoperability with existing P3 systems, DATAllegro also announced an Intelligent Query Router (IQR), which can connect high-performance P3 and high-capacity C25 appliances together to create a multi-tiered architecture.

Interoperability, as it turns out, is important: The C25 boasts a much greater capacity than its predecessor, to be sure, but (conversely) isn’t quite as fast. As a result, DATAllegro officials say the P3 is an ideal solution for transaction-intensive or near-real-time data warehousing environments, where access to current or fresh data is important. The C25, on the other hand, makes a great platform for storing immense amounts of historical data.

In this schema, officials say, customers can tap the IQR to partition content and place current data on the P3 and historical data on the C25. From a user perspective, where the data resides isn’t a concern: queries are transparently directed to the appropriate appliance.

In the end, says Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., there’s an opportunity here for DATAllegro to make some headway into capacity-starved accounts. “DATAllegro should point out that while other vendors [i.e., Netezza] may have announced larger capacity data warehouse appliances, some of these are not currently available and are not expected until December 2005,” he notes, referring to Netezza’s new NPS 10400 and 10800 appliances.

Schiff says Netezza does market a 27 TB system that targets the same segment, and points to another potential DATAllegro vulnerability: the absence of customer success stories. The P3 (nee, P3000) started shipping in March, but DATAllegro still hasn’t produced any testimonials, case studies, or customer success stories. This could become a potential marketing cudgel for competitors such as Netezza and Teradata, he concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.