Startup Seeks Success in Crowded Market

Startup Illuminate Solutions wants to break into the data warehousing market in North America with its value-based storage technology.  

Startup Illuminate Solutions is bringing its value-based approach to storage to the shores of North America as it tries to make a play in an increasingly congested data warehousing market.

The company, which is based in Spain, is planning to begin selling its correlation database engine-called Illuminate-and its tool suite in North American April 14. The company opened an office in Minneapolis March 1.

At the heart of the company's strategy is what it calls value-based storage. To hear officials at the company tell it, there is a tradeoff in the pre-design process between performance and flexibility, with the price of performance being the omission of some data relationships. The omissions, in turn, affect query flexibility.

The company's central claim is that pre-defined schemas cannot meet the ad hoc information needs of users; any question that is not pre-designed in the data warehouse requires IT to re-architect the indexing, schema or data cube, reload the data and recalculate all values.

There is no need for pre-design of the database with a correlation database engine, said Joseph Foley, chief architect of Illuminate Solutions. With the company's technology, an automatic, data-driven schema is built on-the-fly and includes all possible data correlations, he said.

The vendor's storage model requires that data values only be stored once in a 100 percent indexed database, which lays the foundation for better performance and flexibility, he said. As a result, every column of the database is always indexed, and every query runs at index speed.

"What we measure is the real speed that's important-is the amount of time it takes from having a problem to getting a result," Foley said. "The time to analytics is the key measure, not how fast is your response time or how many records can you load per second."

With all these factors, officials at the three-year-old company want to distinguish their products from offerings from better-known players in the data warehousing market, such as Oracle and IBM. A number of columnar database vendors, like Sybase, for example, are also making a push.

"One challenge is that data warehousing is a crowded market and Illuminate is not very well known and competing against a lot of vendors with a higher profile, established customers bases and broader portfolios," said Krishna Roy, an analyst with The 451 Group. "I think...they could get ultimately acquired and OEM opportunities are also a good avenue," Roy said.