Netezza Skimmer Joins the Short List - InformationWeek

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Commentary
1/27/2010
08:14 AM
Curt Monash
Curt Monash
Commentary
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Netezza Skimmer Joins the Short List

The main news here is that you can buy a Netezza box for $125K, plug it in, load a few terabytes of data, and be good to go with a pretty solid data warehouse...

As I previously complained, last week wasn't a very convenient time for me to have briefings. So when Netezza emailed to say it would release its new entry-level Skimmer appliance this week, while I asked for and got a Friday afternoon briefing, I kept it quick and basic.

That said, highlights of my Netezza Skimmer briefing included:

  • In essence, Netezza Skimmer is 1/3 of Netezza's previously smallest appliance, for 1/3 the price.
  • I.e., Netezza Skimmer has 1 S-blade and 9 disks, vs. 3 S-blades and 24 disks on the Netezza TwinFin 3.
  • With 1 disk reserved as a hot spare, that boils down to a 1:1:1 ratio among CPU cores, FPGA cores, and 1-terabyte disks on Netezza skimmer. The same could pretty much be said of Netezza TwinFin, the occasional hot-spare disk notwithstanding.
  • Netezza Skimmer costs $125K.
  • With 2.8 or so TB of space for user data before compression, that's right in line with the Netezza price point of slightly <$20K/terabyte of user data.
  • That assumes Netezza's usual 2.25X compression. I forgot to ask when 4X compression was actually being shipped.
  • I forgot to ask, but it seems obvious that Netezza Skimmer uses identical or substantially similar components to Netezza TwinFin's.
  • Netezza Skimmer is 7 rack units high.
  • In place of the SMP hosts on TwinFin Systems, Netezza Skimmer has a host blade.
  • Netezza (specifically Phil Francisco) mentioned that when Kalido uses Netezza Skimmer for its appliance, there will be an additional host computer, but when it uses TwinFin for the same software, the built-in host will suffice. (Even so, I suspect it might be too strong to say that Skimmer's built-in host computer is underpowered.)
  • Netezza also suggested that more appliance OEMs are coming down the pike specifically focused on the affordable Skimmer.
Obviously, Netezza Skimmer isn't breaking any new technical ground. If Netezza had just called Skimmer "TwinFin 1," nobody should have objected. So the main news here is that you can buy a Netezza box for $125K, plug it in, load a few terabytes of data, and be good to go with a pretty solid data warehouse. For enterprises and data mart outsourcers with databases of the appropriate size, that could be a pretty attractive deal.

Is Netezza Skimmer as cheap as buying your own hardware and putting (free) Greenplum Single-Node Edition software on it? Not even close, especially since Greenplum's free option limits you to lower overall compute power. Does Netezza Skimmer have as high availability as more expensive alternatives? In some cases, surely not. Skimmer is neither the cheapest thing around nor an utterly high-end product.

But Netezza Skimmer belongs on a lot of short lists even so.The main news here is that you can buy a Netezza box for $125K, plug it in, load a few terabytes of data, and be good to go with a pretty solid data warehouse...

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