Author
 Curt Monash

Profile of Curt Monash

News & Commentary Posts: 72
Curt Monash has been an industry, product, and/or stock analyst since 1981, specializing in the areas of database management, application development tools, online services, and analytic technologies
Articles by Curt Monash

The Privacy Discussion Is Heating Up

10/27/2010
Internet privacy issues are getting more and more attention. Frankly, I think we're getting past the point where the only big risk is loss of liberty. More and more, the risk of an excessive backlash is upon us as well...

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Notes on Data Warehouse Appliance Prices

10/19/2010
I'm not terribly motivated to do a detailed analysis of data warehouse appliance list prices, in part because everybody knows that data warehouse appliances tend to be deeply discounted... That said, here are some insights on data warehouse appliance prices...

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Greenplum Out, Teradata In at eBay

10/6/2010
I chatted with Oliver Ratzesberger of eBay around a Stanford picnic table yesterday (the XLDB 4 conference is being held at Jacek Becla's home base of SLAC, which used to stand for "Stanford Linear Accelerator Center"). Things I learned included that eBay's 6.5-petabyte Greenplum database has turned into a >10-petabyte Teradata database, which will grow 2.5 x further in size...

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Thoughts on IBM Buying Netezza

9/22/2010
As you've probably read, IBM and Netezza announced a deal Monday for IBM to buy Netezza. Naturally, I have some quick thoughts, which I've broken up into sections on "clearing underbrush," speculation about what IBM/Netezza will do, speculation about alternative acquirers, and speculation about what IBM/Netezza competitors will do.

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Teradata's Future Product Strategy

8/18/2010
Teradata's future product strategy is coming into focus. I'll start by outlining some particular aspects, and then show how I think it all ties together. The immediate hook here is Teradata's acquisition of Kickfire's assets...

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Big Data is Watching You!

8/11/2010
The subjects of large-scale analytics may be categorized as: people, financial trades, electronic networks, and everything else... Some of the most interesting -- and potentially privacy-invading -- use cases are concentrated in the areas of identifying individuals, groups of people, or behaviors of (groups of) people. For example

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More on Greenplum and EMC

7/14/2010
Greenplum has ~ 140 customers, vs. ~65 five quarters ago, 100+ at year-end, and an acquisition rate of 12-15/quarter last fall. A typical "small" paying customer for Greenplum starts with 10-20 TB of data...

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EMC Is Buying Greenplum

7/6/2010
I don't think adding a rich parent adds much of a reason to buy from Greenplum. But if you're the type who's nervous about smaller vendors -- well, Greenplum now isn't so small.

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Machines Are Driving The Big-Data Era

6/30/2010
Future big-data growth will be in the area of machine-generated data. In contrast to human-generated data, which can grow only as fast as human data-generating activities allow it to, machine-generated data is limited only by capital budgets and Moore's Law.

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Exploring Netezza's Coming 6.0 DBMS

6/22/2010
Netezza is having its user conference, Enzee Universe, in Boston Monday-Wednesday, June 21-23, and naturally will be announcing new products there, and otherwise providing hooks and inducements to get itself written about.

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On Sybase IQ and the V15.2 Upgrade

5/25/2010
Sybase IQ Version 15.2 was released today with three major upgrades: data federation that makes sense mainly in the context of rigorous security rules, an upgrade to Sybase IQ's built-in text indexing, and improved LOB (Large OBject) management.

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Reactions to SAP Acquiring Sybase

5/13/2010
SAP is acquiring Sybase. On the conference call SAP said Sybase would be run as a separate division of SAP (no surprise). Most of the focus was on Sybase's mobile technology, which is forecast at >$400 million in 2010 revenues (which would be 30%ish of the total). My quick reactions include...

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Greenplum Intros Chorus and DBMS Upgrade

4/13/2010
Greenplum yesterday announced Greenplum 4.0, a revision of the core Greenplum database technology. In addition, the company announced Greenplum Chorus, which is the first product release instantiating last year's EDC (Enterprise Data Cloud) vision statement and marketing campaign. Highlights and related observations include...

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The Case for Retaining Everything

4/6/2010
I'd like to reemphasize a point I've been making for a while about data retention: As costs go down, the wisdom of keeping detailed data goes up. I'd go so far as to say that every piece of data generated by a human being should be preserved and kept online...

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February 2010 Data Warehouse News

2/22/2010
February is usually a busy month for data warehouse DBMS product releases, product announcements, and other real or contrived data warehouse DBMS news, and it can get pretty confusing trying to keep those categories of "news" apart. This year is no exception...

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On Gartner's Data Warehousing Quadrant

2/15/2010
Gartner's 2009 data warehouse DBMS Magic Quadrant -- actually, January 2010 -- is now out. Here I call out some points in the surrounding commentary that I find interesting or just plain strange.

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Quick Thoughts on Sybase/Aleri

2/4/2010
Sybase today announced an asset purchase that amounts to a takeover of CEP (Complex Event Processing) vendor Aleri, which last year acquired Coral8. Quick reactions include...

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Teradata's Hardware Strategy and Tactics

10/27/2009
The most important takeaways about Teradata's hardware strategy from the Partners conference last week are: 1. Teradata's future lies in solid-state memory. 2. The solid-state future is imminent. 3. Teradata will increase the number of appliances it sells. 4. Teradata will mix and match parts (especially storage) in a modular product line.

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This Week at the Teradata Partners User Conference

10/20/2009
Here are some highlights of what's going on, although names, dates, and details will have to await conversations and press releases this week... Teradata hopes to leapfrog Greenplum in its "Enterprise Data Cloud" strategy. This is only fair, in that Greenplum lifted the idea from Teradata and eBay in the first place...

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Oracle Exadata 2 Capacity Pricing Revealed

10/6/2009
Analyzing Oracle Exadata pricing is always harder than one would first think. But I've finally gotten around to doing an Oracle Exadata 2 pricing spreadsheet. If we believe Oracle's claims of 10X compression, Exadata 2 costs more per terabyte of user data than Netezza TwinFin but less than the Teradata 2550...

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Issues Comparing Analytic DBMS Performance

9/22/2009
The analytic DBMS/data warehouse appliance market is full of competitive performance claims. Sometimes, they're completely fabricated, with no basis in fact whatsoever. But often performance-advantage claims are based on one or more head-to-head performance comparisons...

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Thinking About Analytic Speed

9/14/2009
There is, obviously, a huge industry emphasis on speed. Indeed, there's so much emphasis that confusion often ensues... There are two important senses of "latency" in analytics. One is just query response time. The other is the length of the interval between when data is captured and when it is available for analytic purposes. They're often conflated...

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Teradata's Active Enterprise Data Warehouse Story

8/24/2009
Teradata used to tell a one-size-fits-all Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) story. That's no longer the case. Last year, Teradata introduced a range of products. I think Teradata is serious about selling its full product range, and by now has achieved buy-in from its sales force for that strategy. I base these beliefs on data points such as...

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Teradata 13 Focuses on Advanced Analytic Performance

8/3/2009
Teradata 13, which will be used across the various Teradata product lines, has now been announced for general availability... The focus of Teradata 13 is on advanced analytic performance, although there of course are some enhancements in simple query performance and in analytic functionality as well...

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Netezza Is Changing its Hardware Architecture, Slashing Prices

7/31/2009
Netezza is about to make its biggest product announcement in years, cutting prices to less than $20K/terabyte of user data, replacing its PowerPC chips with Intel-based IBM blades and making substantial changes in how data flows between the various parts of a Netezza node for a claimed 10-15X increase in price-performance...

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Initial reactions to IBM acquiring SPSS

7/29/2009
One notable point is that SPSS is more SQL-oriented than SAS. Thus, SPSS has gotten performance benefits from Oracle's in-database data mining technology that SAS apparently hasn't... IBM's done a good job of keeping its acquired products working well with Oracle and other competitive DBMS in the past, and SPSS will surely be no exception.

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Update on Microsoft's Madison and Fast Track Data Warehouse Products

7/17/2009
Microsoft Madison availability remains scheduled for the first half of 2010. Tangible progress includes a few customer commitments of various sorts, including one outright planned purchase. At the moment various Microsoft Madison technology "previews" are going on, which seem to amount to proofs-of-concept that...

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Hasso Plattner Calls for In-Memory OLTP Column Stores

7/8/2009
The approach Plattner advocates is an MPP in-memory column store, presumably somewhat akin to SAP's frequently renamed Business Warehouse Accelerator/Business Intelligence Accelerator/BWA/BIA/Son-of-TREX technology. There also are strong similarities to the MPP in-memory row store project H-Store/VoltDB...

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Google Announces Fusion Tables

6/15/2009
Google has announced an experimental cloud-based data management system called Fusion Tables... What Fusion Tables really seems to be is a spreadsheet without the formulae. That is, it's a place to dump data in a grid of cells, comment on it, version it, and do elementary data manipulation.

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Reinventing Business Intelligence

6/2/2009
I've felt for quite a while that business intelligence tools are due for a revolution... Here are some thoughts on the reinvention of BI, with no pretense of being in any way comprehensive...

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More on MySQL Forks and Storage Engines

5/26/2009
Suppose Oracle wants to make life difficult for third-party storage engine vendors via its incipient control of MySQL? Can the storage engine vendors insulate themselves from this risk by working with a MySQL fork?

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The Real Story on IBM's System S Release

5/15/2009
IBM has hastily announced System S Streams, a product that was supposed to be called InfoSphere Streams and introduced only in 2010... Perhaps it is more than coincidence that IBM rushed out its own announcement of an immature technology immediately after Microsoft revealed its own plans for CEP.

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eBay's Enormous Data Warehouses Detailed

5/1/2009
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit eBay and meet with executive Oliver Ratzesberger and his team... Now I'm finally writing about the core of what we discussed, which is two of the very largest data warehouses in the world.

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It's Time to Strengthen MySQL Forkers

4/21/2009
I think Oracle will do a better job with MySQL product development than Sun has. But of course that's a low hurdle. And so it leaves open the questions: What should and/or will be the most widely adopted code lines of MySQL (or other open source DBMS)?

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First Thoughts on Oracle Acquiring Sun

4/20/2009
Wow... And during the week of the MySQL conference, too... Oracle is saying all the right things about being committed to all product lines and technologies. On the whole, this is believable... Oracle mentions OpenStorage prominently. Makes sense. Integrating DBMS with storage is Oracle's high-end DBMS future (e.g., Exadata)...

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SAS Enters Its Own Cloud

3/25/2009
The Register has a fairly detailed article about SAS expanding its cloud/SaaS offerings. I disagree with one assertion; namely, I fail to see why SAS's campus would be better than leading hosting companies' data centers for either data privacy/security or data upload speed...

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Database Implications if IBM Acquires Sun

3/19/2009
Reported or rumored merger discussions between IBM and Sun are generating huge amounts of discussion. Here are some quick thoughts on how the IBM/Sun deal -- if it happens -- might affect the database management system industry.

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Complex Event Processing Vendors Flounder

3/18/2009
Independent CEP vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets... So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. A clever alternative to relational DBMS was invented... Initial high hopes got dashed, companies failed to grow rapidly, and shareholders grew tired.

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Quick Take on Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track

2/23/2009
"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:

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Analytics' Role in a Frightening Economy

2/9/2009
I chatted the other day with an executive on the general business side (as opposed to the trading operation) of a household-name brokerage firm, one that's in no immediate financial peril. It seems their #1 analytic-technology priority right now is changing planning from an annual to a monthly cycle. That's a smart idea... and larger enterprises of all kinds should consider following suit.

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Why BI is in a Funk

1/30/2009
I wrote recently that BI is in a "funk." Let me now offer a few ideas as to why that is so: 1. At its heart, BI is an application development technology. 2. Very few enterprises want to or can change the way they do business. 3. Large BI vendors aren't sure what business they're in. 4. The communication collaboration opportunity is being botched.

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How to Buy an Analytic DBMS

12/22/2008
I went to London for a couple of days recently, at the behest of Kognitio. The main driver for the trip was a seminar at which I was the featured speaker... I delivered practical advice on the subject of how to buy an analytic DBMS, starting with this seven-part self assessment...

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Hot Topics in High-Performance Analytics

11/17/2008
For the past few months, I've collected a lot of data points to the effect that high-performance analytics - i.e., beyond straightforward query - is becoming increasingly important. And I've written about some of these topics, including MapReduce, geospatial analytic capabilities and memory-centric analytics among a few others...

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Getting to Answers on Oracle's New Hardware

10/22/2008
I spent about six hours at Oracle last week - talking with Andy Mendelsohn, Ray Roccaforte, Juan Loaiza, Cetin Ozbutun, et al. I plan to write more, but for now, let me pass along a few quick comments. First, the key philosophical point that I had perhaps been missing is that Oracle thinks there is and should be a storage (server) tier...

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A Quick Guide to Teradata's Latest News

10/14/2008
The Teradata Partners (i.e., user) conference is this week. So there have been lots of press releases, some presentations, lots of meetings, and so on... There was very little prebriefing about the actual announcement details, so we're all scrambling to figure out what's up. But let me jump in to an overview of Teradata news this week:

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HP-Oracle Appliance Prices Estimated

10/3/2008
I've been trying to figure out how much the HP-Oracle Database Machine and HP-Oracle Exadata Storage Server actually cost. I've updated my pricing spreadsheet... and my new estimate for HP Oracle Database Machine list price is $5,546,000. Per-terabyte prices (user data) are $60K and $198K for the two configurations.

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HP-Oracle Hardware Parallelization Clarified

10/1/2008
Some kind Oracle development managers have reached out and helped me better understand where Oracle does or doesn't stand in query and analytic parallelization. Let's start with the part everybody pretty much knows already: First, there are two parts to a parallelization story - how you get data off of disk, and what you do with it once you have it...

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Oracle Finally Answers Data Warehouse Challengers

9/25/2008
Oracle, in partnership with HP, has announced a new data warehouse appliance product line, cleverly branded "Exadata."... Numbers are being thrown around suggesting that, unlike prior Oracle offerings, the Exadata-based appliance at least has scalability and price/performance worth comparing to Teradata - hey, Exa is bigger than Tera! - Netezza, et al.

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Vertica Spells Out Compression Claims

9/24/2008
Omer Trajman of column-store DBMS vendor Vertica put up a must-read blog spelling out detailed compression numbers, based on actual field experience... Omer goes on to claim that Vertica's compression is typically severalfold better than that of competitive row-based systems.

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Infobright Open Source Move Packs Potential

9/15/2008
Infobright announced today that it's going full-bore into open source - specifically in the MySQL ecosystem - with the licensing approach, pricing, distribution strategy, and VC money from Sun that such a move naturally entails. I think this is a great idea, for a number of reasons...

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Tradeoffs In Splitting DBMS Work Among MPP Nodes

9/9/2008
I talk with lots of vendors of MPP data warehouse DBMS. I've now heard enough different approaches to MPP architecture that I think it might be interesting to contrast some of the alternatives. The base-case MPP DBMS architecture is one in which there are two kinds of nodes...

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Why MapReduce Matters to SQL Data Warehousing

8/28/2008
Greenplum and Aster Data have both just announced the integration of MapReduce into their SQL MPP data warehouse products. So why do I think this could be a big deal? The short answer is "Because MapReduce offers dramatic performance gains in analytic application areas that still need great performance speed-up." The long answer goes something like this...

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David Raab Offers Kudos for QlikView

8/25/2008
David Raab is a great fan and former reseller of QlikTech's QlikView. His recent lengthy post about the product is positive enough to have been recommended by the company itself. But of course, no technology is perfect... In particular, the idea that QlikView automagically gives you access to all your information, without any prior work, is refuted...

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When to Use Modern DBMS Alternatives

8/21/2008
If there's one central theme in my blog, it's that modern DBMS alternatives should in many cases be used instead of the traditional market leaders... Here's a summary, reproduced from my most recent white paper, on what kinds of database management system you should use in which circumstances.

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Comparing Vertica, ParAccel and Exasol

8/19/2008
I talked with executives at Nuremberg, Germany-based Exasol last week - at 5:00 am ET! - and of course want to blog about it. For clarity, I'd like to start by comparing/contrasting the fundamental data structures at Vertica, ParAccel, and Exasol. And it feels like that should be a separate post. So here goes.

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Patent Nonsense in the Data Warehouse DBMS Market

8/15/2008
There are two recent patent lawsuits in the data warehouse DBMS market. In one, Sybase is suing Vertica. In another, an individual named Cary Jardin (techie founder of XPrime, a sort of predecessor company to ParAccel) is suing DATAllegro... I think it's very unlikely that either of these cases turns out to much matter.

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