Database Benchmarks – The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Yes, I know – not everyone believes database benchmarks are useful. My position is that there is value in benchmarks’ role in helping engineers wring out bottlenecks, bugs and performance impediments in their products. Berni Schiefer, Technical Executive , Information Management Performance and Benchmarks for DB2, MDM and SolidDB, recently told me that “every time we run [TPC-C] we are astonished at how effectively it hammers every element of the system. We always find bugs, room for tuning. It’s the nastiest, most punishing combination there is.” Read more of this post

EMC Buys Greenplum – Big Data Realignment Continues

EMC’s acquisition of Greenplum, announced today as a cash transaction, reaffirms the obvious: the Big Data tsunami upends conventional wisdom. It has already reshaped the market, spawning the most ferment in the RDBMS (and non-R DBMS via the noSQL players) space in years. When I first posted on Greenplum over a year ago, I said that

Open source + capital has created an intriguing new model of rapid innovation in “mature” markets, and the database space – like BI – is not a done deal. It is indeed possible to escape the gravity well, if you execute. Greenplum is getting it done, and is among the new stars to watch.”

Why the open source reference? Greenplum uses a parallelization layer atop PostgreSQL (like Aster, another of the new breed of ADBMS.)

Now EMC has written the next chapter in that story. In the process, it adds a new piece (after literally dozens of others in the past few years) to its own portfolio, which already includes unstructured data (via Documentum) and virtualization (via VMWare), layered in among the industry-leading storage and information management pieces. Disruptive? You bet. Is EMC finished? I doubt it. Candidates? BI tools, ETL, MDM, data integration come to mind. Losers? At least one big one. Read on. Read more of this post

New TPC-H Record – Virtualized by ParAccel, VMware

You can set performance records in a virtualized environment – that’s the message of the new 1 Tb TPC-H benchmark record (scroll down to see the 1Tb results) just released by ParAccel and VMware. Running on VMware’s vSphere 4, the ParAccel Analytic Database (PADB) delivered a one-two punch: not only the top performance number for a 1 terabyte (TB) benchmark, but the top price-performance number as well. The results in a nutshell: 1,316,882 Composite Queries per Hour (QphH), a price/performance of 70 cents/QphH, and a data load rate of over 3.5 TBs per hour. ParAccel moved quickly to promote the result; oddly, VMware seems to have been asleep at the switch, with no promotion on its site as the release hit the wires, and a bland quote from a partner exec in the release itself.

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Cloud Performance Tuning and Capacity Planning – BTM Arrives

I’m delighted to feature this piece from Joe Clabby of Clabby Analytics, an independent technology research firm that focuses on systems, storage, networks, infrastructure, management and cloud computing. In this 8-page report, Joe looks at  business transaction management (BTM) — a segment of the application performance management (APM) market he believes anyone looking at cloud computing needs to know about.  It’s well worth investing the time to read this important piece of work.

What happens when a transaction is sent into a cloud for processing?  Which physical and virtual resources does it use (how do you do capacity planning in a cloud if you don’t know which resources a given transaction is using)?  What dependencies does the transaction have?  If the transaction is performing poorly, how can the fault be isolated?  If the transaction misbehaves intermittently, how can that fault be isolated?  And, how do you tune transactions in the cloud to improve performance?

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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

SAP Promises Acceleration on a “Clear Path” – Will it Be Enough?

The economic slowdown was not kind to SAP in 2009, and as it launched the annual Influencer Summit on December 8th, change was in the air. Messages were shifting. “Sustainability” got a big push, and there was a ringing commitment to substantial, dramatic product change to be delivered in 2010. Different faces were on display: there was no Leo Apotheker or Bill McDermott on the stage, although Board members Jim Hagemann Snabe and John Schwarz held down the fort with new Marketing EVP Jonathan Becher and CTO Vishal Sikka in key speaking slots. Like the dances I went to in high school, the event was mostly date-free, but direct questions elicited some specific, though uncommitted, statements about deliveries in 2010, especially from Marge Breya. Read more of this post

Confio Tries to Apply BI to DB Performance – Needs Work

The Boulder BI Braintrust hosted Confio this week. Confio is fairly small (25 people focusing on product development sales and support, with most other infrastructure outsourced), and privately held with angel and operating revenue funding it. The value proposition of their product, Ignite Performance Intelligence, (I’ll call it IPI from here) is to deliver information about database performance using a more BI-like interface. Prospective buyers (and today’s customers, who number in the hundreds) are DBAs and application performance specialists. Read more of this post