Microsoft Leaps Late, Lags with SQL Server PDW

Microsoft chose a user group meeting, Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), for the rollout of its long-awaited, and late, SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse (note, yet again, how foolish it is for vendors to trap themselves with dates in product names.) PDW is late to market; there are other MPP DBMS players there already, and Microsoft is behind in functionality compared to some of them. Some of the most eagerly–awaited features are evidently not slated for the first release. It’s also far behind its originally planned ship date following the acquisition of DatAllegro in 2008. Read more of this post

EMC Jumps Into ADBMS Appliance Game

The Data Computing Appliance, first deliverable from EMC’s acquisition of Greenplum, was announced last month, only 75 days after the acquisition closed, and it doesn’t lack for ambition.  Pat Gelsinger, President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Information Infrastructure, pointed to the high level opportunity: unlocking the “hidden value” of enormous and growing data assets every company is increasingly holding, and often failing to leverage. The appliance will reach many hitherto untapped resources in the data centers that EMC occupies. Adding EMC’s manufacturing, sales and marketing, and reference architectures to the Greenplum IP brings what Gelsinger calls Greenplum’s “first phase” to its completion. And begins what is likely to be a sizable battle with Oracle, Teradata and IBM, if EMC mounts campaigns and spending to match its ambitious vision. Read more of this post

Microsoft’s Parallel DW – Still Waiting

Microsoft’s SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) has been eagerly awaited for a long time. It still is. Though much of the news at the BI Conference running in parallel with TechEd in New Orleans (discussed here) was generally quite good, the PDW story was much less so. It’s late, and it’s not all there. Read more of this post

EMC World 2010 and IT Vendor Evolution

From Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.

IT vendor conferences offer a variety of amusements and educational opportunities, and EMC World 2010 was no exception. But the most interesting aspect of this year’s event focused on how things have changed for EMC during the past year. Consider this: EMC World 2009 kicked off with a keynote co-hosted by company President and CEO Joe Tucci and VMware President and CEO Paul Maritz, emphasizing the companies’ common vision of virtualization as the foundation for cloud computing. Last week in Boston, Tucci used his solo keynote to highlight EMC’s notion of private cloud computing as the rightful future of enterprise datacenters and discussed the partnerships EMC is pursuing to make that vision a reality. Read more of this post

VDI Market Heats Up – and So Do Vendor Rivalries

I’m pleased to welcome Laura DiDio of ITIC as a contributor. ITIC is a rich source of data and insightful commentary. This piece originally appeared in the PUND-IT newsletter.

There’s no hotter market in high tech this year than Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and you don’t need sales and unit shipment statistics to prove it.  No, the best measurement of VDI’s hotness is the sudden flurry of vendor announcements accompanied by a concomitant rise in vitriol. The main players in the VDI market are actually two sets of pairs. It’s Citrix and Microsoft lining up against VMware and EMC for Round 2 in the ongoing virtualization wars. On March 18, Citrix and Microsoft came out swinging, landing the first potent, preemptive punches right where they hope will hurt VMware the most: in its pocketbook. Read more of this post

Dell Marketing Gets It Right

I ignore virtually all the marketing emails I get, even from folks whose offerings I tend to like – Apple, musicians I follow, baseball teams…. But today, I got a great note from Dell that started with a guaranteed stopper: Happy Birthday, Merv! Yup, even a jaded old analyst like me will stop for a moment. Read more of this post

And Then There Were Three: POWER, x86 and z

by Joe Clabby, President, Clabby Analytics. Updated from a November 2009 publication

There is a major shakeout underway in the midrange/high-end server marketplace as sales of Sun SPARC/CMT (cellular multi-threading) and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Itanium-based servers decline significantly — and as new, more powerful versions of Intel’s Xeon and IBM’s POWER micro-architectures come to market. Read more of this post

Microsoft and HP Announce New Application-to-Infrastructure Model/Partnership [Yawn]

(Co-authored with Charles King of PUND-IT, Inc.)

Microsoft and HP announced a new investment of $250M into their Frontline Partnership, designed to deliver integrated stacks supporting applications from Microsoft’s Exchange and SQL Server and beyond into the cloud. As part of this effort, the companies plan to deliver solutions built on what they defined as a “next generation infrastructure-to-application model” which will help speed implementation, eliminate IT management complexities and lower overall costs by automating manual processes. With this strategic partnership, HP and Microsoft will also collaborate on an engineering road map for joint products including data management machines using the new SQL Server MPP database option when it is announced, pre-packaged application solution bundles, comprehensive virtualization offerings and integrated management tools. Read more of this post

Oracle on Database: It’s On. And They’re Not Kidding.

Oracle is the company that led the industry into making RDBMS the data persistence vehicle of choice, and though its flagship is still Number One, many other topics floated around as 35,000 people attended Oracle Open World (OOW) in San Francisco recently. The spotlight stayed firmly planted: “What will Larry say about clouds/IBM/Fusion apps?”; Marc Benioff and Larry; Arnold and Larry. But if there’s anything Larry Ellison is passionate about, even as he sets his sights on IBM (hardware) and SAP (apps) – his two most important competitors, he said at the Churchill Club recently – it’s database, and he’s energized by the appliance opportunity. Andy Mendelsohn, SVP of Database Server Technologies put it simply in a conversation: “the only product Larry has spoken of in the last 3 earnings calls is Exadata.” He is more involved than in recent years, and that means one thing: everyone else had better watch out. What analysts learned about the new release makes that very clear: Oracle has been busy, and there is a lot of exciting new technology coming. Read more of this post

ParAccel Rocks the TPC-H – Will See Added Momentum

ParAccel, another of the analytic database upstarts, has weighed in on Sun hardware with a record-shattering benchmark that its competitors have thus far avoided – the 30 TB TPC-H. It’s been two years since anyone has published a 30 TB TPC-H, and only 10 of any size (all smaller) have been published in the past year. One can scoff (many do) at this venerable institution, but TPC benchmarks are a rite of passage, and a badge of engineering prowess. The ParAccel Analytic Database (PADB) has set new records, raising its profile dramatically in one fell swoop. PADB came in at 16x the price/performance of Oracle, the prior leader (and only other vendor willing to tackle the 30Tb benchmark to date.) PADB, running on Sun Opteron 2356 servers, Sun Fire™ X4540 storage servers and OpenSolaris™, was 7x faster on queries and 4.6x faster loading the data than the 2 year old Oracle result. And because of its architecture, the construction and tuning of indexes and partitioning strategies were not needed. TPC rules are specific about having product in GA within 90 days, so one can expect to see PADB version 2.0, on which the benchmark was based, out in Q3.

ParAccel has seen some skepticism in the analyst community because of its relatively small published number of customers. It claims a dozen, and half are listed on its web site. Other vendors, like Vertica and Greenplum, have been very forthcoming promoting theirs, but both have more time in the market. PADB was released in Q4 2007 and really began its arc in 2008; Vertica has a year head start, and Greenplum even more. Rumors have also floated about whether CTO and founder Barry Zane was leaving. I had a conversation with Barry in late June to discuss the business and the benchmarks. He was clearly excited about the benchmarks, in which he was very involved, even working on the full disclosure report personally  – “It got to be like a hobby for me,” he said – and he was quite clear that he is not going anywhere. Read more of this post

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