September 03, 2008
Netezza is a six year-old company that's been on the edge of my radar screen for awhile. That's mostly because they sell data warehousing appliances -- not exactly my idea of mainstream high performance computing. But what the company really does is marry data warehousing with streaming analytics. And it does it in a sort of sexy way, geek-wise.
In a conventional data warehousing setup, you have a database stored on a SAN, which is connected to a mainframe or more likely, a compute cluster. Processing takes place after the data is loaded from the storage hardware onto the computing hardware. In a transactional database app, this is fine and dandy, since the data volumes and the amount of processing are usually not stressed by the limits of the network's bandwidth and latency.
In streaming applications, lots of data must be processed in real time or close to it. And when I say lots of data here, I'm talking terabytes. This type of software is most commonly associated with "business intelligence," but streaming apps encompass an even wider range -- everything from data mining to financial analytics to intelligence gathering. In this environment, the compute-storage links can easily become a communication bottleneck. Netezza appliances attempt to rectify this by placing the storage and compute pieces in close proximity and by providing a streaming framework for the applications. Here's how the company describes it:
Rather than shuttling data between disk and memory for processing once a query comes in, which creates the bottleneck, data streams off the disk and through query logic loaded into an FPGA (field programmable gate array). The FPGA and processor (a PowerPC chip), together with 400 GB of disk storage, reside on each of the massively parallel nodes that Netezza calls snippet processing units (SPUs). Each of our Netezza racks contains 112 of these SPUs. Queries are optimized across the SPUs for maximum performance and power efficiency A Linux host server aggregates SPU results and manages query workload and the results are returned to the user.
Not exactly a commodity solution. But unlike a lot of other vendors peddling unique HPC solutions, Netezza has managed to attract some big name customers including Amazon, AOL, The American Red Cross, CNET Networks, Nationwide Financial Services, Sandia National Laboratories, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. All told, the company has collected 58 customers.
On Wednesday, Netezza announced five new applications for their platform:
The new apps are the result of the Netezza Developer Network (NDN), a program the company launched in September 2007. The idea was to attract developers to write analytic applications for the Netezza platform.
Since many data warehousing applications are evolving from an online transaction processing (OLTP) model to an online analytics processing (OLAP) one, Netezza may have hit the market at the right time. The company is not alone, however, and has to deal with larger vendors like IBM, HP, Oracle, SAS, as well as a posse of smaller firms like Teradata and Greenplum. So far so good, though. Netezza went public in July 2007 and for the last two quarters has reported profits and growing revenue. In an industry that has mostly punished vendors that dared to offer non-commodity solutions, Netezza may be a refreshing exception.
Posted by Michael Feldman - September 02, 2008 @ 9:00 PM, Pacific Daylight Time
Michael Feldman is the editor of HPCwire.
No Recent Blog Comments
10/30/2013 | Cray, DDN, Mellanox, NetApp, ScaleMP, Supermicro, Xyratex | Creating data is easy… the challenge is getting it to the right place to make use of it. This paper discusses fresh solutions that can directly increase I/O efficiency, and the applications of these solutions to current, and new technology infrastructures.
10/01/2013 | IBM | A new trend is developing in the HPC space that is also affecting enterprise computing productivity with the arrival of “ultra-dense” hyper-scale servers.
Ken Claffey, SVP and General Manager at Xyratex, presents ClusterStor at the Vendor Showdown at ISC13 in Leipzig, Germany.
Join HPCwire Editor Nicole Hemsoth and Dr. David Bader from Georgia Tech as they take center stage on opening night at Atlanta's first Big Data Kick Off Week, filmed in front of a live audience. Nicole and David look at the evolution of HPC, today's big data challenges, discuss real world solutions, and reveal their predictions. Exactly what does the future holds for HPC?