Open source appliances

The early success of Netezza has not only prompted other “me too” database appliance players like DataAllegro but also now an open source variant.  Greenplum has combined its open source database with Sun hardware to come up with an appliance of its own.  This is an interesting move that makes sense for Greenplum, since Sun obviously has a far larger sales channel than itself and so is a potentially powerful partner.  The article in Information Week is rather too breathless in its description of a DBMS + some hardware as an “instant data warehouse” however.  This is nonsense, and is no more so than a copy of SQL Server and a PC is “an instant data warehouse” (and at least SQL Server has some functionality directly useful to data warehousing in it). If all you had to do was supply a DMBS to have a data warehouse then there would be a lot of unemployed systems integrators and consultants.

However, leaving aside the inability of the journalist to see beyond the words of the company press release, this is an astute move by Greenplum, which can use Sun’s credibility to make it reassure nervous enterprise customers who may otherwise be twitchy about entrusting their data warehouse data to an open source platform.  However any prospect should be careful to check the performance characteristics of their application to see how well the Bizgres DBMS stacks up, since just throwing hardware at a problem can be an expensive thing to do.  But from a customer perspective it is good to have another choice to compare with Teradata and Netezza if you have an ultra-high transaction volume problem.