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.

Read more of this post

Microsoft Ends Itanium Support — Parsing the Clues

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. – I’m delighted to welcome Charles as a contributor. This piece was published in the PUND-IT newsletter.

In a blog, Dan Reger, senior technical product manager for Microsoft’s Windows Server group, announced that Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 will be the last Microsoft products to support Intel’s Itanium microprocessor architecture. Mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (and R2) will end, in accordance with Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle Policy, on July 9, 2013, while extended support will continue until July 10, 2018. 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 Secures $22 Million – The Game’s Afoot

Recently, ParAccel published a TPC-H benchmark, and I said here that it was a coup that ought to get them significant attention. The blizzard of discussion that ensued was no doubt gratifying for ParAccel – Google reported 182 hits for “the past week” for them as of 6/28.

Now, Google hits – and visibility in general – aren’t everything. In a relatively crowded field, ParAccel will need more than just a fairly well-received press release – they will need money. Money to drive marketing, money to turn interest into leads, and money to fund a sales and field force to convert those leads into business. The good news? They just got some. On June 29th the firm announced a C round of venture capital has been secured, to the tune of $22 million led by Menlo Ventures; ParAccel’s previous investors participated as well. Read more of this post