Data warehouse appliances are so-called because they are used for storing and managing the data associated with data warehousing projects. Strictly speaking though these products should be called database appliances, or simply data appliances, because they support only the database processing component of a data warehousing and business intelligence environment. Many of these appliances are missing the data integration software required to capture data from operational systems, and transform and consolidate it into a data warehouse. Given that the task of data integration is a significant percentage of the effort required to build a data warehouse, the cost savings of these appliances for data warehousing projects may not be as high as it first appears.
This point is brought home by the recent announcement by Vertica of a strategic relationship with Talend, an open-source data integration vendor. Vertica markets the column-oriented Vertica Database, and has a relationship with HP and Red Hat to offer a bundled hardware and software analytical database solution. Given that Talend also has relationship with open source BI tool vendor Jaspersoft, it means the combination of Vertica, Talend, JasperSoft and Red Hat software on top of an HP hardware platform provides a cost-effective and open source data warehouse and BI environment. If this package was offered as a single solution, and supported by a single vendor, it would represent the ideal data warehouse and BI appliance solution.
In my opinion, the appliance vendors must move toward offering these types of packaged software environments if they are to survive. Simply offering better price/performance is not a viable long-term strategy. The database machine vendors discovered this. In fact, I believe the vendors need to go one step further and provide application appliances that provide a complete business solution. Although it had a proprietary architecture, the IBM AS/400 was a tremendous success because it offered a complete application solution to business users.
Posted December 21, 2007 2:55 PM
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