Challengers and Visionaries
With its release of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW), Microsoft stands out in Gartner's top-left "challengers" quadrant (meaning it's high on the vetical ability-to-execute axis but less than halfway across the horizontal completeness-of-vision axis). Open-source vendor Ingress also nudged into the challenger realm, but mostly on the strength of its new (and entirely commercial) VectorWise analytic database.
Microsoft's PDW resolves some of the scaling issues with Microsoft SQL Server as a DW platform, but clustering "remains a more manual process than with some of its competitors." Indeed, Gartner cautions that customers report difficulty with clustered server performance and high availability in certain configurations.
The "visionaries" in the bottom-right quadrant of this year's DW report include, in order, Aster Data, Kognitio and ParAccel. Ranked far-right for their completeness of vision but low on ability to execute (given their small customer bases, employee numbers and service-and-support footprints), these players are prime targets for acquisition.
Indeed, Gartner sees continued consolidation in the DW market, and these visionaries (and a few other small vendors outside the visionaries quadrant) could "reduce development efforts and accelerate functionality" for an acquiring larger vendor.
Trends to Watch
On the technology front, Gartner's MQ and related "Data Warehousing Trends for the CIO" report, released this week, foresee broader use of column-store architectures, even as a main data warehouse platform. This is significant in that column-store has long been views as an analytic data mart technology, but Gartner says Sybase in particular has made strides to support enterprise data warehouse deployments.
Gartner expects some column-store pricing models to get more aggressive, with pricing based on data volumes rather than per-user or per-core measures.
In-memory databases (some from BI vendors, some from DW players) are delivering extremely fast query response times. This will have a disruptive effect on data warehousing, Gartner predicts, with a "higher probability that analytics and transactional systems can share the same database."
This last bit is clearly a reference to SAP's strategy to support its applications and fast in-memory/column-store-powered analytics on the same database. InfoBright, Kognitio and Vertica also boast in-memory capabilities, and this boosts their prospects as acquisition targets.
Most DW players only address private-cloud deployments as "an emerging infrastructure design choice," says Gartner. Notable outsourced data warehouse and Data Warehousing as a Service (DaaS) options include 1010data and Kognitio, the latter with a partnership with CapGemini. Gartner see demand for cloud-based options increasing, but there's no side-stepping the always-present data model development and data integration challenges.