Flurry of Product Announcements Attests to Red-Hot DW Market

DW vendors are as busy as bees

The data warehouse (DW) sector is a reliable hotbed of activity. Over the last month, for example, DW vendors Dataupia Corp., Greenplum Inc., Infobright, Netezza Inc., and Vertica all announced new or updated products and services.

Vertica had a lot to trumpet, starting with a new version 3.0 release of its flagship Vertica Analytic Database. Boasting performance improvements (chiefly via improved multithreading and faster data load speeds); expanded SQL support, such as the addition of key SQL-99 functions, as well as new support for join enhancements, sub-query enhancements, and function enhancements; enhanced security (new support for SSL client security encryption and LDAP/Kerberos/Active Directory integration); and improved manageability, officials depict the Vertica Analytic Database as, in effect, a ceaselessly evolving DBMS platform.

The trouble, they concede, is that most competitive DBMSes are evolving, too. "I think this is a horse race. We all look at the market and try to deliver as much of these capabilities as we can," says industry veteran Dave Menninger, vice president of marketing and product management with Vertica.

Unlike competitive DW products from GreenPlum, ParAccel, and others, Vertica isn't built on top of an open source or free software DBMS; its development is performed entirely in-house. The upside to this, Menninger maintains, is that Vertica isn't "burdened" with "legacy" code. More to the point, he contends, the column-based Vertica DBMS -- as distinct from its open source or free software competition -- was designed from the ground up specifically for analytic workloads.

"In the case of the PostgreSQL- or mySQL-based apps, they more or less get [many of their enhancements] for free; in our case it's stuff that we have to engineer into the system," he observes, "but it's worked out really well for us. We made a calculated assessment as to what the market needed; apparently we were reasonably accurate with our assessment," Menninger deadpans.

Last December, Vertica -- in collaboration with software partner SyncSort (a venerable DI player that markets high-speed synchronization and replication software) and hardware partner Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) -- claimed to achieve TPC-H data loading performance of 5.4 TB in less than an hour. That's significantly better than the (unaudited) 4 TB an hour claimed, just a couple of months ago, by Greenplum. Menninger trumpets this same high-speed load capability as one of the biggest performance boosts in Vertica 3.0.

"We tried to be very transparent in this, so we used … the TPC/H data set, we published all of the scripts, and we hired an auditor to verify that what we were claiming is accurate. All of this information is published. We tweaked and tuned and made some enhancements to accomplish this. Your results may vary, as your data may not be the same shape as the TPC-H data," he explains, stressing that "there was redundancy in the data and the data was, in fact, loaded as we might expect anybody else to load TPC-H data."

Vertica wasn't the only DW vendor innovating. Rival Infobright also had a lot to crow about. In late April, it unveiled its latest and greatest release -- Infobright 3.1 -- and touted a new partnership with open source reporting specialist Jaspersoft. Officials claim that the revamped Infobright 3.1 gets a significant performance boost via its support for nearly 100 additional SQL functions. In addition, Infobright announced new support for Solaris 10 x86 on the enterprise flavor (i.e., Infobright Enterprise Edition, or IEE) of its DW software.

The upshot, officials claim, is that the revamped Infobright 3.1 can better scale to support larger DW configurations and more concurrent users. Infobright also partnered with Jaspersoft to promote an all-in-one open source project that addresses front-end BI, ETL, and data warehousing capabilities.

Elsewhere, DW stalwart Greenplum followed in the steps of both ParAccel Inc. and Netezza, partnering with storage giant EMC Corp. to develop a DW offering based on Greenplum's DW software and EMC's CLARiiON storage area network (SAN) systems. (Both ParAccel and Netezza, for the record, notched their EMC partnerships early last year.) The partners pitch the combined Greenplum/EMC-CLARiiON offering as a good Rx for "large-scale" DW implementations.

Also busy was Dataupia, which recently announced the availability of Oracle 11g support for its Satori Server appliances. Dataupia's move plugs a gap in its product portfolio: it markets Satori Server as an analytic complement to RDBMSes from Microsoft (SQL Server 2000, 2005), IBM (several flavors of DB2), and Oracle (version 10g); support for Oracle 11g -- which Oracle first delivered nearly two years ago – expands this coverage.

Elsewhere, Netezza -- the DW appliance player that started it all -- recently partnered with cVidya Networks (a provider of revenue and cost assurance technologies) to deliver a combined revenue assurance offering based on Netezza's DW underpinnings and cVidya's MoneyMap stack. Netezza and cVidya say the new offering gives service providers an out-of-the-box means to address revenue assurance and revenue leakage issues.

Nor is that all: columnar specialist ParAccel is expected to unveil the next version of its ParAccel Analytic Database later next month. Stay tuned.

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