Tuesday, 27 April 2010 14:56

Greenplum brings enterprise cloud approach to data warehouses


A database vendor is using self-service provisioning and social network style features to accelerate analytics and business intelligence deployment and use.

While analytics and business intelligence call for the storage of data outside operational databases, we have reached the stage where 90% of such data now resides outside formal data warehouses largely because IT departments cannot react as quickly as the business side of the organisation requires, Greenplum's senior vice president of sales, Joseph Otto, told iTWire.

This problem can be overcome with Greenplum's Chorus, which was introduced earlier this month. Chorus brings the 'private cloud' concept to data warehousing, providing self-service provisioning (minimising IT departments' involvement in everyday operations), data services (to allow discovery of available data), and social-network style collaboration.

"Business intelligence should be about collaboration... everyone in the enterprise has something to contribute," said Otto.

Greenplum's strategy has been to apply commodity hardware to data warehouses, rather than applying a "1980s model" of selling complete and closed systems, he said.

Customers typically run Greenplum software on equipment from vendors such as HP, Dell, EMC, Cisco, Sun and Hitachi. Greenplum's ANZ regional director Dean King said this approach means the company's value proposition increases as hardware performance improves. The expected explosion of data volumes - some sites are talking about eightfold increases in the next 12 months - means you need commodity storage if you're going to be able to afford to keep up, he said.

The use of commodity hardware also allows linear price/performance growth as the business demands increase.

So who is using Greenplum's software? See page 2.

Greenplum's customer base is largely in the financial services (eg, the New York Stock Exchange), telecommunications (eg, T-Mobile in the US), retail, healthcare, and government (including the Australia Federal Government) sectors - "anyone who has a big data problem," said Otto.

The largest implementation involves 6.5PB of data, and that is expected to increase to 20PB within 12 months.

Compared with other suppliers, Greenplum allows organisations to store more data for less money, and with faster implementation, Otto claimed. He cited a customer in the telco industry that was able to implement a 1PB system in around two weeks that allowed an exploration of the causes of subscriber churn.

"You now can base decisions of data, not gut feel," he said. "That's huge for the marketing people."

One Australian customer wanted to take data from around 100 source systems and store it in a warehouse that would allow any sort of analysis, King said. The big name data warehouse vendors simply couldn't provide that, he explained.




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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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