Expanded support for mixed workloads moves Netezza's appliance into enterprise data warehouse roles.
Netezza Corp. today announced Release 4 of the Netezza Performance Server (NPS), its integrated hardware and software better known as a data warehouse appliance. The Release 4 upgrades are all within the software and are said to double the performance of both current and previous generations of the company's hardware -- without increases in price, hardware footprint or power or cooling requirements. The upgrade also improves support for mixed query types, making the appliance more suitable for general data-warehousing needs.
While some appliance competitors build on commodity hardware, Netezza credits its hardware/software integration with enabling ongoing performance improvement. "Our appliance tightly integrates a relational database with server and storage," explains Ellen Rubin, vice president of marketing. "Because we control the entire technology stack, we can use the software to take advantage of hardware acceleration."
With a processor and a "field programmable gate array" on each drive, the hardware can receive instructions from Netezza's optimization software as queries are launched so it can prioritize which data to move into the system for processing.
"Netezza does gain an advantage by controlling both the software and the hardware because it can optimize the combination," says Dan Vesset, an analyst with IDC.
One downside of proprietary hardware is cost, but it may also be a stumbling block for IT if it's not in keeping with corporate standards. "If the internal skills are centered on Sun servers or EMC storage, [IT] might not want to bring in another vendor," says Vesset.
Appliances have gained a reputation for being best suited to focused data-mart applications involving complex queries across fairly uniform data, but Netezza says its latest upgrade does a better job of prioritizing simple ad-hoc queries alongside more complex challenges.
"The strong suit for appliances is still in handling more complex queries, but I've seen some clients moving toward more enterprise-warehouse deployments," says Vesset.
Netezza cites Ross Stores as an example. The retailer's 10-terabyte Netezza-based warehouse was originally set up to handle merchandize and market basket analysis, but it's now handling mixed requirements including thousands of Monday-morning queries among more than 500 users.
The Agile ArchiveWhen it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
2014 Analytics, BI, and Information Management SurveyITís tried for years to simplify data analytics and business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?