Indeed, there is much about the open-source Infobright data-warehousing platform that appeals to cost-conscious customers, including a free Infobright Community Edition that has been downloaded by more than 10,000 potential users. At the same time, Infobright's 50 commercial customers are demanding about performance. That's why the main focus of the Infobright version 3.1 upgrade announced this week is enhanced query performance through improved SQL support.
"We've added about 100 new SQL functions into our architecture and optimizer process, and that has improved performance by about 10 times for complex queries that rely on these SQL functions," says Susan Davis, Infobright's vice president of marketing. "This has been the most-requested upgrade by customers, because those functions run so much faster on optimizer than on MySQL itself."
Infobright says its "Knowledge Grid" architecture is self-managing, meaning database administrators don't have to spend time indexing and tuning. As a result, the vendor claims implementation and management costs can be reduced by up to 90 percent over conventional database deployments for data warehousing.
Infobright also announced compatibility with Sun Solaris and Sun storage products this week, although the timing turned out to be less than ideal given Monday's surprise announcement of Sun's acquisition. Infobright has long presented its columnar database as an alternative to conventional relational database management systems (DBMSs) such as Oracle's. With Sun systems and products including MySQL now set to join the Oracle portfolio, market watchers have advised partners to be wary.
"Oracle isn't a very comfortable partner, long term, for the storage engine vendors," states database expert Curt Monash in this blog. "I think Infobright, Kickfire, Tokutek, Calpont [and other MySQL partners] need to get aligned in a hurry with an outside MySQL provider such as Percona or MariaDB."
Given Oracle's recent release of Exadata data warehouse appliances and Microsoft's plan for a 2010 release of scale-out options for Microsoft SQL Server, Infobright and other alternative DBMS vendors face tougher competition. Perhaps that's why Infobright also previewed a "Simplified Scalability Architecture" (SSA) this week. The architecture will push Infobright scalability over 100 terabytes and 300 concurrent users, up from 50 terabytes and 32 concurrent users with the current architecture.
"Growing data volumes are one factor, but we also see the need for more concurrent queries and users," Infobright's Davis says. "SSA takes our simple, easy-to-deploy symmetric multiprocessor architecture and expands it into a multi-server environment in which you can scale up the environment simply by adding servers and storage."
Infobright says SSA will also improve availability and provide built-in automatic failover, but the architecture won't be released until the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, this week's Infobright 3.1 upgrade is already shipping.