Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can I get the Consumer Reports for these Appliances?

I wanted to pull together a quick summary of the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Appliance space. It is a continually maturing space with a set of strong vendors still fighting for market share. Teradata, DATAllegro, Netezza, NeoView from HP and Dataupia all provide solutions that combine hardware, operating system and database software into a single unit. Calpont, Kognitio, Vertica and ParAccel provide software only and platform independent solutions. The benefits of these appliance solutions include a reduced total cost of ownership, increased performance through massively parallel systems, reduced administration and database administrators, and high availability and scalability. Where these solutions typically sell is through a proof of concept where a customer has a very specific performance issue that the vendor can show proven results. Industries that collect massive amounts of transaction data such as retailers or web clickstream data are inherit sweet spots for DW appliances.

If you aren’t familiar with the DW Appliance space, I would recommend taking a look at a series of articles from Krish Krishnan (intro, part 1, part 2) on the topic. I also came across this blog posting fact or fiction that unwinds some of the misconceptions on the DW appliance space.

Another interesting area that has followed the DW Appliance trend is in Business Intelligence. I have come across fewer vendors here, but Celequest (acquired by Cognos) and Ingres Icebreaker are two that provide a bundled hardware, operating system, database software and reporting tools. Business Objects has also partnered with Netezza to provide a single point solution in data warehousing and business intelligence. All the solutions adhere to standards which allows for integration with a majority of the BI vendor software that are SQL based tools.

3 comments:

John K. Thompson said...

Hi Peter,

I run the US Operations for Kognitio. I have been looking for such a report and have not found one yet, either.

The best sources of info that I have found are reports from IDC and multi vendor studies from Ventana Research and the B-EYE-Network.

Best of luck in your search,
John K. Thompson

Mike said...

I think you'll find more research on the DW appliances in traditional places(Gartner, IDC, Forrester, B-eye, etc.). The concept has been around and the value seems fairly fixed, make it faster & cheaper. Good targets, especially in the high margin world of EDW’s. But, it’s starting to feel like drag racing, at some point does it matter who is going 320 vs 340mph? Once the paradigm shift has been proven, the startups get locked in for consolidation(or re-implementation) over the next 12-18 months.

On the SW appliance side, we’re finding far less research and understanding of the value by vendors and analysts alike. Part of this is maturity. Analyst research requires adoption, without it, little exists. IDC has done some study around sw appliances(Al Gillen). Gartner has a little(Bob Covington focused on SMBs), but these are scratching the surface. At Ingres(ie. Icebreaker) we found open source solution sets were lacking for SMBs. The cost and complexity of "build & support your own" BI stack seemed ripe for solving. We took the build value to another level by providing integrated patching as well.

But I think this is just the beginning. If you look at the lifecycle of computing, solving install/setup is 5-10% of the problem. The real value in SW appliances is the enablement of a well known configuration to be laid down, similar to how SaaS providers "fix" their platform to enable scale of operation. A SW appliance can be a way for ISVs to lay down and then apply a service framework(SOA) for services and interoperability. You can get greater flexibility than SaaS, manage your data your way, yet get the benefits of better TCO. SW appliances are also easier to get onto and off of "the cloud", a concept just now being developed by some of the early SW appliance providers.

SW Appliances applied to BI and other solution sets are just beginning to explore their value and boundaries.

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