Monday, April 30, 2007

HP: "Ooh look! We're a data warehousing vendor too!"

While hunting around in their software portfolio, it looks like HP discovered that they do data warehousing too. HP have long provided server hardware for Oracle-based databases with their NonStop line of servers. Turns out that the Tandem hardware design that HP had used to build the NonStop server line was originally developed to support OLAP-oriented databases as well as OLTP. Now HP want to compete with Teradata. I wonder what Teradata think of that...

HP claim 200,000 BI implementations per year. Um, yeah, ok. Ben Barnes talks about it all in the video below. Be warned though (if the IDG statistic above wasn't enough) - Ben claims that HP's product suite is "next generation" BI, because it provides an enterpise-wide information resource rather than silo-ed information stores. Teradata in particular would be raising more than an eyebrow there, since it's been their bread-and-butter for decades. It's what data warehousing has been for a long, long time (often with disastrous results when the enterprise approach has been naively adopted). If it wasn't for the (c) 2007 text superimposed on the video, you'd swear it was 1989. As for Ben's use of the idea of parallel querying and data load as a selling point, well, try telling that to users as the data in reports changes before their eyes...

Here are the main points of Ben's pitch for HP flavoured BI:

  • Cost-effectiveness, based, as far as I can tell, on the same argument that other DW appliance vendors use.
  • No need for the batch-window, upload data as people query it (see above).
  • Reliability for a large userbase - fine, but HP aren't the only ones selling hardware/DBMS for warehouses with large userbases in a reliable way.
  • Minimal need for tuning - again, standard appliance pitch.
Nothing at all revolutionary or "next generation" here, and certainly some worrying evidence that HP don't know much about BI beyond the hardware. Very little that's tricky about BI (and by the way, 50,000 users using a DW is not BI) has anything to do with the hardware or software platform.

Thanks to Craig for passing the Yahoo! the article along.