Netezza and Greenplum broke into the data warehousing market in the mid 2000s by outscaling conventional Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server deployments. Times have changed. Oracle introduced Exadata in 2008, IBM bought Netezza last year, and early this year, Microsoft started shipping SQL Server 2008 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) appliances. IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle shops now have good reason to consider incumbent vendors. The DirectEdge stock exchange, for example, has long been a Microsoft shop, and that made PDW (a very new and yet-to-be-market-proven product) "an obvious choice," says chief technology officer Richard Hochron, pictured above.
All current DirectEdge business intelligence and data warehousing assets are built on Microsoft technology, including some 200 finance, strategy, compliance, legal, and regulatory reports built on Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. That doesn't mean PDW got a free ride. Hochron oversaw a proof-of-concept project using DirectEdge data and "proving specific points that were very important to us." Automotive data provider Polk, an Oracle shop, chose Exadata in large part because of staff familiarity with managing the database, but it waited for V2 "because we never buy version 1.0 of anything," says Doug Miller, director of database development and operations.