Software // Information Management
Commentary
2/23/2009
03:31 PM
Curt Monash
Curt Monash
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Quick Take on Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track

"SQL Server Fast Track" is the Microsoft SQL Server equivalent to Oracle's "recommended configurations" or IBM's "Balanced Configuration Units." SQL Server Fast Track is further being portrayed as an incremental step toward Madison, Microsoft's future high-end data warehousing offering. Here are a few insights on what's coming:

Stuart Frost of Microsoft (nee' DATAllegro) checked in, with Microsoft's TDWI-timed announcements. The news part was something called "SQL Server Fast Track," which is the Microsoft SQL Server equivalent to Oracle's "recommended configurations" or IBM's "BCUs." SQL Server Fast Track is further being portrayed as an incremental step toward Madison, Microsoft's future high-end data warehousing offering.

  • There are a variety of SMP/SAN configurations, from several different usual-suspect hardware and storage vendors. Basically, it's the old DATAllegro partner list, but Now With HP Added.
  • Both SAS and SATA drives are supported in SQL Server Fast Track. But Madison will start out SATA-only.
  • SQL Server Fast Track per-terabyte pricing is said to be significantly under Netezza's, presumably in most or all configurations. (User data, of course.)
  • A few copies of SQL Server Fast Track have already been sold.
  • The basic idea is to set up tight configurations that do a good job of supporting "sequential" I/O and, in a phrase I once coined, "index-light" database architectures. Basically, this is the old DATAllegro technical strategy, minus the MPP part. (And other row-based MPP vendors' too.) Performance is claimed to be good. (You were maybe expecting them to say the opposite?)
  • Not coincidentally, Stuart portrays SQL Server Fast Track as being suitable for complex queries, especially of the sort that do well with table scans. More generally, he portrays it as a high-end data mart technology, and asserts that Microsoft SQL Server is good for data marts in general.
  • The hub-and-spoke strategy favored at DATAllegro will also be reflected in Madison. Thus, SQL Server Fast Track data marts should later fit into a Madison EDW environment. This idea -- a version of which I've also heard from eBay in connection with its Teradata installation -- says "OK, maybe it's a good idea to copy data warehouse data into a separate data mart. But that mart still should be controlled by the parent warehouse. And oh by the way -- if the marts and the warehouse live on the same integrated grid, data transfer rates should be delightfully fast."
  • When Microsoft first acquired DATAllegro, Stuart seemed to think Infiniband would be downplayed going forward. It's now clearly the Madison networking technology of choice, due to what Microsoft perceives as clear technical superiority. At a guess, I'd say that Oracle's endorsement of Infiniband in Exadata didn't hurt either, in that it gives Microsoft marketing cover to choose the technology it's liked best all along. At this point, it's not totally clear whether there even will be non-Infiniband versions of Madison, especially at first, although the design will be "agnostic" in that regard.
  • The number of DATAllegro production references is expected to double imminently, from one to two. Few will be surprised at the identity of the second reference. I imagine the number will then stay at two, as DATAllegro technology is no longer being sold, and the third known production user has never been reputed to be particularly pleased with it.
  • Madison pricing will be well below old DATAllegro pricing, which was already low. I presume this is mainly just natural Moore's Law/Kryder's Law evolution.
"SQL Server Fast Track" is the Microsoft SQL Server equivalent to Oracle's "recommended configurations" or IBM's "Balanced Configuration Units." SQL Server Fast Track is further being portrayed as an incremental step toward Madison, Microsoft's future high-end data warehousing offering. Here are a few insights on what's coming:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When 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.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.