Hadoop Summit Recap Part Two – SELECT FROM hdfs WHERE bigdatavendor USING SQL

Probably the most widespread, and commercially imminent, theme at the Summit was “SQL on Hadoop.” Since last year, many offerings have been touted, debated, and some have even shipped. In this post, I offer a brief look at where things stood at the Summit and how we got there. To net it out: offerings today range from the not-even-submitted to GA – if you’re interested, a bit of familiarity will help. Even more useful: patience.

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Cloudera-Informatica Deal Opens Broader Horizons for Both

Cloudera‘s continuing focus on the implications of explosive data growth has led it to another key partnership, this time with Informatica. Connecting to the dominant player in data integration and data quality expands the opportunity for Cloudera dramatically; it enables the de facto commercial Hadoop leader to find new ways to empower the “silent majority” of data. The majority of data is outside; not just outside enterprise data warehouses, but outside RDBMS instances entirely. Why? Because it doesn’t need all the management features database management software provides – it doesn’t get updated regularly, for example. In fact, it may not be used very often at all, though it does need to be persisted for a variety of reasons. I recently mentioned Cloudera’s success of late; it’s going to be challenged by some big players in 2011, notably IBM, whose recent focus on Hadoop has been remarkably nimble. So these deals matter. A lot. The Data Management function is being refactored before our eyes; both these vendors will play in its future. 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

More TDWI Notes – ParAccel Rolling On, HP Stalled, Vertica Leading Insurgents

On my second day at TDWI, I was in meetings all day – events like this are a great opportunity for analysts to catch up with many of the companies they follow at one time, and this particular one was packed with sponsors. Congrats to the folks who sell sponsorships – they had a packed exhibit hall, and a lot of very interested attendees. I got a chance to chat at a few booths (all buzzing), ask a few attendees some real-world questions (and was asked some surprising ones myself), and get a sense of the workload in the trenches (heavy and growing.)

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Tableau Breaks Out With Advanced Visualization

When I last spoke to business analytics vendor Tableau Software in April 2009, the company had run off a string of uninterrupted growth. In a  challenging 2009, Tableau continued to grow, and in our most recent conversation the team was upbeat. Q1 was looking very good, and the company has over 4000 named accounts now. Its revenue  growth was about 50% overall at the end of the year, and direct sales are growing faster than indirect as its sales model shifts with increased visibility. Tableau is among the leaders of the new advanced visualization players, and the battle is heating up. Read more of this post

Will AEP Replace RDBMS? A Dialogue With Charles Brett

Analytic Event Processing (AEP) is hot. But does it mean RDBMS begins to decline in importance? Charles Brett of C3B Consulting and I recently had a quick dialogue about it and came up with different conclusions. That conversation is reproduced here. It’s only the beginning – l hope you will weigh in with your thoughts. Read more of this post

Workday and Vertica: Cracking the 100 Customer Mark

Workday announced today that it has passed the 100-customer mark, and the milestone struck me as another important rite of passage. Such milestones are especially important in emerging markets that have not yet achieved mainstream recognition. In Workday’s case, this arguably represents a substantial step forward in the enterprise-class SaaS-based application market. Following in the successful footsteps of salesforce.com, NetSuite and others, Workday is extending the new SaaS paradigm into human resources and financial applications, with marquee customers such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Valspar Corporation  helping them get to this new level of customer success.

Workday is doing this by focusing on delivery; it touts a 120-day average phase-one implementation timeframe. The economic leverage of SaaS solutions, which turn the old “implementation is a multiple of acquisition cost” model on its head, works to Workday’s advantage, but only if it can deliver. In its press release, Workday points to a 38-day implementation cycle for Stone River as an example of its nimble deployment model. While it’s unlikely that this happens often, it’s an impressive benchmark nonetheless.

The note reminded me of recent conversations with Vertica, a firm attempting to help drive a similar mainstream status for the emerging ADBMS market. My conversations with Dave Menninger and others at Vertica have given me a perspective not unlike that of AMR’s Jeffrey Freyermuth, who recently concluded that Workday was about to crack the barrier. With its own big name wins like JP Morgan Chase and Verizon, and a steady cadence of product releases, Vertica has been on a roll. As Q3 began, they were approaching 90 customers, and I’m aware of several wins in recent weeks, which leads me to believe that they are rapidly approaching a similar moment in their growth. And the hill Vertica must climb is steeper: they are a more traditionally licensed, high-cost enterprise software platform without some of the built-in advantages of Workday’s SaaS approach.

I’ve talked elsewhere about Vertica’s technical innovations; its 3.5 release added substantially to a growing list of features. But the true test of credibility for a company in an emerging space is its ability to deliver those features to customers, and keep them happy. Vertica has invested steadily and wisely to ramp up sales and marketing efforts. Marketing is a critical component, but punchy campaigns and flashy web sites mean nothing unless companies buy and keep investing in a technology. As it approaches the 100-customer mark, Vertica has proven that it is delivering what enterprises want – fast database technology that solves real-world business problems. Like Workday, it may be following some larger pioneers, but it’s carving out a leadership role for itself at a rapid pace. I’m watching with interest to see how well it holds its momentum in Q4 and beyond.

What’s An Eigenbase?

The open source community is remarkable in many ways. For me, one of the most significant aspects of it is exactly that: it IS a community. It’s composed of people who communicate and share in deep and productive ways. One of the most interesting manifestations of that spirit I’ve run across is the Eigenbase project, an extensible platform being used by some very creative folks for the creation and continuing development of databases for data warehousing (the LucidDB DBMS) and stream processing (the SQLstream continuous query engine). I haven’t posted about either of those yet but will, and I’m watching their continuing evolution with great interest.

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Vertica Projects Leadership, Embraces MapReduce (Sorta)

With the August announcement of Vertica Analytic Database 3.5, Vertica is laying claim to leadership of the new ADBMS vendors. With its most recent numbers – several dozens of customers are now in production and the company expects to pass 100 this year – the assertion bears thinking about. Driving forward with an aggressive release strategy, Vertica is showing its maturity and increasing ability to challenge the old school leaders like Teradata and Netezza – but with a software-only strategy. This agility allowed it to offer early support for release 3.5 in quick succession after its last release, with GA scheduled for later this year.  Read more of this post

TDWI Disappoints, But There is Hope Ahead

Few events offer as much promise as The Data Warehouse Institute World Conferences. With a deep educational focus, TDWI provides important opportunities for users. For vendors, the event offers one of the most focused, serious prospect audiences possible. My expectations, tempered though they were by economic realities, were still fairly high for this year’s San Diego event. Unfortunately, the drop in volume was greater than all of us expected, the number of announcements from the vendor community was low, and the content focus seemed a bit out of date.

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