Software // Information Management
Commentary
11/24/2009
09:26 AM
Curt Monash
Curt Monash
Commentary
50%
50%

Reports of Perfectly-Balanced Hardware Configurations are Greatly Exaggerated

Data warehouse appliance and software appliance vendors like to claim that they've worked out just the right hardware configuration(s), and that a single configuration is correct for a fairly broad range of workloads. But there are a lot of reasons to be dubious about that. Specific vendor evidence includes...

Data warehouse appliance and software appliance vendors like to claim that they've worked out just the right hardware configuration(s), and that a single configuration is correct for a fairly broad range of workloads. But there are a lot of reasons to be dubious about that. Specific vendor evidence includes:

  • Teradata ascribes considerable importance to a Virtual Storage technology whose main purpose is to allow mixing of heterogeneous storage devices in a single system. And the discussion rarely suggests that these parts will be in a rigid fixed relationship.
  • Netezza -- as Teradata keeps reminding me -- often sells boxes with the expectation that they won't be filled with data, so as to increase spindle count and hence performance.
  • Oracle/Sun have dropped some comments about Exadata being more flexibly configured going forward.
  • Kickfire's new "high-end" appliance lets you attach fairly arbitrary amounts of external storage.
  • And of course, software-only analytic DBMS vendors run their software in all sorts of hardware and storage environments.
What's more, the claim never made a lot of sense anyway. With the rarest of exceptions, even a single data warehouse's workload will contain different queries that strain different parts of the system in different ratios. Calculating the "ideal" hardware configuration for that single workload would be forbiddingly difficult. And even if one could calculate it, it almost surely would be different than another user's "ideal" configuration. How a single hardware configuration can be "ideally balanced" for a broad class of use cases boggles the imagination.Data warehouse appliance and software appliance vendors like to claim that they've worked out just the right hardware configuration(s), and that a single configuration is correct for a fairly broad range of workloads. But there are a lot of reasons to be dubious about that. Specific vendor evidence includes...

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, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
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.