HP Oracle Database Machine Makes Waves in Data Warehousing Space

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2008-09-24

HP Oracle Database Machine Makes Waves in Data Warehousing Space

Not too long ago, Microsoft sought to shake up the data warehousing market with the purchase of DATAllegro. Not to be outdone, Oracle jumped into the fray at its Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. But instead of an acquisition, Oracle pulled the covers off a project three years in the making-the HP Oracle Database Machine.

With its pricing and query optimization, Oracle's latest data warehousing play is a direct challenge to Teradata, IBM and other players in the enterprise data warehousing market. After the product was officially announced during Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's OpenWorld keynote, analysts from Gartner and Forrester Research said the play is potentially game-changing.

"I think Teradata is probably sitting there right now a little upset," said Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg. "I think that the disruptive part of this is that Oracle has moved into the hardware business ... the second thing that's disruptive about this is that they have pushed the processing down to the storage drive. It allows you to parallelize code, general code."

Teradata and Netezza in particular were singled out as vendors Oracle was challenging with the product. Oracle President Charles Phillips said in an interview with eWEEK he expected other vendors to be caught off-guard and to be pressured by customers to improve performance.

"With an appliance available from Oracle with all the rich features that come with Oracle, and a high-end interconnect ... it's going to change their market," Phillips said.

Oracle's Charles Rozwat, executive vice president of product development, offered up similar thoughts during the interview.

"What Netezza has delivered is really a big storage box, with very little database processing capability," Rozwat said. "Teradata is kind of balanced in the other direction, where they have a significant amount of database processing but not really all that much storage. What we've tried to do is create a system that is very balanced as far as both database processing and storage."

Teradata, Netezza Respond


Randy Lea, vice president of products and services marketing at Teradata, said the company welcomes the competition and is confident in its own technology. Unlike this joint product from Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, all of Teradata's products are designed under one roof, he said. He added that the company has replaced more than 200 Oracle data warehouses in the last couple of years.

Still, Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna said the HP Oracle Database Machine leapfrogs Teradata in terms of performance, and does so at an attractive price.

"This will definitely impact Teradata, since they have always been considered the data warehouse leaders when it comes to performance and scalability," Yuhanna said. "This announcement changes the game. Having the queries run at the storage level makes a strong case in favor for Oracle to deliver an innovative warehouse solution."

Netezza responded to the announcement by saying incumbent vendors have tried in the past to bolt together products to address the needs of the data warehousing market to no avail.

"You just can't slap together existing solutions in clever packaging and expect to deliver much faster performance," said Jim Baum, president and chief operating officer of Netezza. "The power and simplicity of the data warehouse appliance model lies in integration and design from the ground up. Engineers in the same company, the same building, working to integrate a shared vision-not patch it together with glue and spit."

Meanwhile, data warehousing vendor Greenplum spun the announcement as a vindication of its strategy.

"Greenplum, from its inception in 2003, has architected and delivered a massively parallel processing database to meet big data needs and has customers with 100s of terabytes of data in production," said Scott Yara, president and co-founder of the company.

Whatever the effect on competitors, Phillips said he expects the product to be well received in the market. After all, he noted, the data warehouse is not exactly uncharted water for Oracle.

"In the sense that we've never sold hardware before there is some difference, but the end result is a data warehouse, which we know a lot about," Phillips said. "I think we're credible going into this market because data warehouses, the vast majority of them, are built on our technology."

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