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10/15/2008
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Vertica Upgrades Pave Way for 'Teramarts'

New features aimed at co-existence with conventional data warehouses, better support for SQL queries, joins and dialects.

With so many entrenched enterprise data warehouses (EDWs), and proven applications and practices that go along with them, it's just not realistic for startup purveyors of alternative databases and data warehouse appliances to expect to unseat incumbent deployments. That's why the Vertica Analytic Database 2.5, an upgrade announced yesterday, is all about playing well with existing environments while delivering what the company calls "blazingly fast Teramarts."

The key signal that Vertica means to play well with others is a new Intelligent Query Router that lets Vertica 2.5 pass queries to legacy data warehouses. The optional add-on is designed to support disaster recovery as well as migration and coexistence. In the event of a node or site failure, the module will route queries to a secondary or backup site. In migration or coexistence scenarios, the Intelligent Query Router lets customers move the most urgent queries over to the new database while reducing data volumes and processing demands on the incumbent EDW.

Vertica says the new Router can also be used to migrate the entire EDW over time, but alternative databases and data warehouse appliances are most often used for data marts that offload data-intensive applications from conventional warehouses that are running out of headroom and slowing to a crawl. The mart approach helps companies avoid, or at least delay, replacing the EDW, but it also introduces new infrastructure and information management demands.

Bolstering the database's compatibility credentials, Vertica 2.5 has expanded SQL support, including nested sub-queries, new SQL joins, and improved compatibility with Oracle and SQL Server dialects. The database previously supported only star schemas and snowflake schemas, but the upgrade is now schema independent, and it also has management features supporting hot backups, event monitoring, database profiling and multi-tenant databases.

At its core, Vertica's column-oriented database is designed for ultra-fast analytic query performance. In contrast to conventional row-store databases, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM's DB2, column-store databases can query selected dimensions of data, such as zip codes and product SKUs, while skipping all the (row-based) attributes that are irrelevant to a query. Sybase, ParAccel and InfoBright are among the other vendors that offer column-oriented databases and appliance configurations.

Vertica 2.5 is available immediately, and it also offered as a cloud-based service running on Amazon's EC2 and S3 services. Conventional deployments are typically in the six- to seven-figure range while the pay-as-you-go cloud-based offering is $500 per 500 gigabytes per month including Amazon's charges.

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