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Rick van der Lans

Welcome to my blog where I will talk about a variety of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, application integration, and database technology. Currently my special interests include data virtualization, NoSQL technology, and service-oriented architectures. If there are any topics you'd like me to address, send them to me at rick@r20.nl.

About the author >

Rick is an independent consultant, speaker and author, specializing in data warehousing, business intelligence, database technology and data virtualization. He is managing director and founder of R20/Consultancy. An internationally acclaimed speaker who has lectured worldwide for the last 25 years, he is the chairman of the successful annual European Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence Conference held annually in London. In the summer of 2012 he published his new book Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems. He is also the author of one of the most successful books on SQL, the popular Introduction to SQL, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Italian and German. He has written many white papers for various software vendors. Rick can be contacted by sending an email to rick@r20.nl.

Editor's Note: Rick's blog and more articles can be accessed through his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel.

October 2009 Archives

This week I had an interesting meeting with Peter Boncz, founder and director of VectorWise. VectorWise is a small startup based in The Netherlands (see www.vectorwise.com). In fact, they are spin-off of a Dutch organization called CWI (the National Research Center for Mathematics and Computer Science). This is the organization that researched and developed MonetDB, an incredibly fast open source database server that uses state of the art database technology. For MonetDB, CWI also created a spin-off company with the same name as the product; see www.monetdb.com .


VectorWise is not a database server in itself, it is more like a smart storage engine. Therefore, they needed another database server to complete the product. And they picked the open source database server we have all known for a long, long time Ingres. The last year, both companies have worked hard to integrate the two products.


But what's so special about VectorWise? If we forget about the hundreds of details, they are trying to do the same thing as what appliance vendors such as Netezza, Aster Data, and Greenplum, have tried to do: develop a database server environment that is capable of running typical warehouse queries very fast without the need for extensive, time-consuming tuning and optimization. In other words, VectorWise is also aiming for out-of-the-box query performance. But this is where the comparison between VectorWise and the other products end. Most of the other products need special hardware and/or clustered machines to be able to offer these performance rates. VectorWise doesn't. It can use and exploit clustered machines, but the magic is that it can even get great performances on uni-core machines. It goes too far to explain in a blog how it all works, but the product has been designed to exploit the CPU's of today, for example, by not only using the internal memory, which is what most other database servers do, but also by using the CPU cache. And that makes a serious difference. Therefore, VectorWise will improve queries without the need for special hardware. It can even do a great job on some of your existing uni-, dual-, or quad-core low-end servers stored somewhere in the basement.


Most of the other vendors of database appliances and analytical databases aim at the largest warehouses and largest customers - the top 500. VectorWise, because it will be open source and because it can run on low-end machines, will also be very suitable for and attractive to the midsize market.


By merging VectorWise with Ingres, you get the new technology of the former and the sales and marketing channels of the latter, a company that has been around for some time, and that has a very stable and extensive installed base.


For current Ingres customers, switching from Ingres to Ingres-VectorWise will be a very small change. Because on the outside, on the side where the queries come in, nothing changes. That also means that porting existing Business Objects or Cognos reports to this new product will be straightforward.


If you're interested in new database technology for data warehousing, this is the product to study. They expect Ingres-VectorWise to be released in the spring of 2010. It looks all very promising, but as we all know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How well will Ingres-VectorWise perform in a real life situation? Hopefully, we can check that very soon.

Posted October 15, 2009 5:32 AM
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