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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Discovery Days kicked off last week in Indianapolis and part of the focus was on Netezza.  I gave a talk on the origins of appliances, based in part on the linear progression from uniprocessing to SMP to Clusters to MPP and made a point that I see appliances in that lineage.  However, it was with the caveat that it's no longer linear and each appliance is putting different nuance to MPP.   Appliances do represent something different than just bundled MPP systems. 


Alan Edwards of IBM filled in some of the details of the Netezza story and value proposition.  Netezza is very much a strong part of the IBM information management story today.  Below are some points from Alan's talk.  Netezza-aware professionals will already understand most, but keep in mind the lack of familiarity of the audience.  Everyone can at least be reminded of these high points for Netezza.


Nearly 70% of data warehouses experience performance-constrained issues

Traditional systems are just too complex, too long to get answers

Netezza means results in Urdu.

Twinfin 3rd gen is a line of surfboards (and the latest line of Netezza appliances)

Netezza is purpose built for analytics

There a no "hints", etc. (none necessary)

They have an analytics package that runs in hardware (I believe this is a reference to the FPGA)

Appliances start at 1 tb and go up to 1 pb+


Netezza is true massively parallel

Gets "streaming data"  - just as data comes off disk, send to cpu only what's needed

There is an SQL interface

Still no indexes (none needed)


More than half of accounts do not have dedicated DBA and one person can have all the knowledge of how Netezza works that a shop needs.  This is a key point as Discovery Days, and other events and promotions by all major vendors today, have a strong element of saving costs.


Netezza still spreads all data evenly across the disk drives

Compression is 4x - 5x


Netezza is not a fit for:


When the majority of queries are highly selective (i.e., a few rows out of billions)

For row-at-a-time processing (i.e., cursors)

For small volumes, it's overkill


Wheel it in & test it.  Teach you in 2-4 weeks.

Most customers are in 10s of terabytes.


Analytic workloads are the sweet spot of what NZ does well.  They win business with POCs, which are done for80% of initial purchases.  70% of POCs are onsite.  More than half of customers have bought multiple systems.


Interesting, of the audience - all in IT, 83% have "not at all" heard of Netezza.  0 knew it very well or had first-hand experience.


Netezza is competitive with Exadata, Teradata, "others" (Greenplum, Vertica, Oracle software-only (SMP & sometimes RAC), Conventional DBMS and SAP/Hana in-memory, which is emerging, not released, on the horizon.  They didn't list Hadoop as a competitor.


600 customers are claimed


There are prebuilt Cognos industry & application specific "blueprints" for NZ.


All in all, it was a great overview of Netezza and the kind of great information being shared at Discovery Days. 


I have been helping clients compare and contrast Netezza and other appliances with more flexible and customizable environments such as DBMSs, columnar databases and "big data" Hadoop  environments depending on the workload.  It's not a one-size-fits-all.  It is a heterogeneous future and appliances remain capable for important analytical workloads that enterprises clearly have.

Posted May 8, 2011 6:02 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

thanks for the quick info,
How would you compare Netezza and Greenplum.
Both are based on postgres. Both have some way of incorporating in-database analytics in SQL..



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