Data Warehousing's Darwinian Struggle

Loraine Lawson

Are conventional data warehouse vendors in trouble? Probably not, but recent developments and long-standing issues are combining to force dramatic changes in the market.


For starters, data warehousing appliances have game-changing potential. They can cost under $150,000, while conventional solutions cost millions. And vendors claim they can handle enterprise-scale projects.


Another problem for data warehousing is the familiar single-version-of-the-truth issue. Data warehouses typically make their entry into the corporation as single point solutions. Then, when they proliferate, the result can be data chaos.


Database vendor Teradata says the wise enterprise solution is an enterprise data warehouse, both in terms of cost and suitability for the SOA architectures that are likely to dominate enterprise IT in the near future. This argument makes sense, but it's also the kind of "big-bang" approach that many respected consultants are rejecting as too risky.


The data warehousing community is countering these objections by finding new uses for their wares. One example is a recent post in SQL Server Central by data warehousing expert Vincent Rainardi which spells out in great detail how a data warehouse can credibly stand in for a CRM solution.

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Feb 15, 2007 6:54 PM Andy Hayler Andy Hayler  says:
The price comparison is misleading.  A DW appliance might well cost USD 150k, but it will cost just as many millions to actually implement it as a conventional data warehouse built on an Oracle database and a Linux server.  The vast majority of costs in a data warehouse project are people costs: data quality issues, ETL, testing, business analysis etc.  DW appliances are a welcome development in terms of hardrwae price/perfomance but you need to compare like with like when making cost comparisons like this. Reply
Feb 20, 2007 4:13 PM Vincent McBurney Vincent McBurney  says:
They are certainly keeping the big RDBMS vendors honest.  I think Teradata helped push Oracle and DB2 into improving very high volume database support and parallel partitioning and loading of data.  I think Netezza has helped push them into offering lower cost bundled data warehouse products.  As Andy points out they are not necessarily cheaper but I think they are more innovative and more tightly focussed on supporting data warehouse functions. This competitiveness is a two way street, the big RDBMS vendors had to improve to keep market share, now the Teradatas and Netezzas need to keep improving to stay ahead or they will get crunched by bigger vendors.  Oracle 11, new DB2 DW bundles, HP entering the market, Microsoft moving into enterprise data and BI.  It's getting tense out there. Reply

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