IBM Gets Feisty — Mobilizes Analytics for Oracle Battle

In July 2009, IBM announced the Smart Analytics System 7600, a workload-optimized, pre-integrated bundle of hardware and software targeted at the business analytics market. Included in that package are an IBM POWER 550 running AIX, storage, plus InfoSphere Warehouse Enterprise Edition (which consists of DB2, Warehouse design and management tools + Cubing, Data Mining and Text Analytics services), and Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, configured and tuned, and “health check” features. Accommodations are made if the customer already has licensed some of the software and wants to use it on the platform; in this sense, the software is described as “optional.” This month, IBM broadened the story and upped the ante, making Smart Analytics System a key weapon in its widening battle with Oracle.

This post is a slightly updated version of a piece that appeared in the PUND-IT newsletter. Read more of this post

Additional Caveats Obscure Oracle’s TPC Benchmark

Since my piece on Oracle’s recent TPC-C was posted, interesting emails have pointed me to additional price/performance data, and I thought I’d offer a bit of that to my readers. One of the more interesting came from the admittedly biased Conor O’Mahony, a DB2 product manager for IBM. In his blog, Conor points out some interesting elements to Oracle’s pricing and support for the system tested. To wit: “the IBM result includes pricing for 24×7 support, upgrade protection, and perpetual licenses; the Oracle result does not include any of these features.” It turns out that Oracle uses a less costly, 3 year term license for the benchmark. After 3 years, the user has to re-up (or just buy a regular license.) The support piece is equally interesting; Oracle’s Incident Support offering – with up to 10 Web-based incident requests per server and no phone support or future upgrades – is used for the benchmark system pricing. Read more of this post

Oracle’s TPC Assertions Don’t Help Its Credibility

Oracle has been making much of its recent benchmark results. Its new TPC campaign may backfire, however; its deceptive assertions do it no credit, and obscure some interesting technical advances (such as its first use of flash technology) behind mislabeling and deliberate omission of important facts. The “benchmark wars” are far less active than they were in their heyday, when new leapfrogging results occurred quarterly, or even more often. TPC-C, the transaction processing measure, has long been understood to be a poor representation of today’s real transaction types. At various times, most of the DBMS vendors have stopped issuing them – but they come back when they think they can get a headline or two. Some hardware vendors have also been dismissive of the benchmark; in fact, until this one, Sun had been a skeptic for a number of years. 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