"New Breed" Database Extensibility

At present, I can think of at least 5 "new breed" database vendors that you allow you to extend their SQL language in some form or another:

Netezza
ParAccel
Kognitio
Greenplum (I think)
DATAllegro/Microsoft

Of course, the old guard is well-represented in this category as well - Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Teradata, etc. all allow language extension via custom functions, plug-ins, etc.

I don't know enough about it yet to know, but I think that Greenplum and AsterData might also belong on this list due to their support for Map/Reduce.

It wasn't all that long ago (3 or 4 years) that most of these vendors didn't even support the full SQL standard, never mind compiled-code extensions to their SQL language. Oh, the possibilities.

Netezza Quietly Separates Itself from the Pack

It has been a great year to be a database geek. With new products like Vertica and Dataupia's Satori Server arriving, how could one not be excited?

Depressingly, however, throughout this year, my confidence in Netezza has been slipping. I've been a huge Netezza fan since I first learned about them almost three years ago. I spent quite a bit of time telling everyone I could find that they needed to get on the Netezza bandwagon or get run over by it. So my sense that the database world was running away and leaving Netezza behind was downright depressing.

Turns out I was right. I just shouldn't have been depressed about it.

I think my concern about Netezza's future was somewhat justified, as this year's assault on Netezza has been three-fold:

It occurred to me a few days ago, however, that the seemingly innocuous things I've heard from Netezza lately actually add up to some faith-restoring conclusions. The fact that they exhibited at SC07, for example, lends some credence to my theory that they aren't just a database vendor anymore. Now granted, I wasn't at SC07, so maybe I'm seeing what I want to see. Could be.

But what really soothed my soul was the discovery that SPUBoxes are available to Netezza Development Network members . SPUBoxes have long been a reality inside Netezza, and I never understood why they weren't a reality outside Netezza. I guess I still don't have an answer, but the important thing is that they are available outside Netezza.

Now, as a software guy, hardware doesn't usually do much for me, but I think this is key. One of Netezza's long-standing issues has been how to get the system in the hands of developers, partners, etc. so that they can push the platform forward. Loaning people multi-million dollar systems just isn't a scalable approach, after all. The SPUBox finally solves that problem. That should mean explosive growth in the number of people familiar with the system as well as the number of applications developed for it.

Or maybe I should say with it. SPUBoxes are specifically aimed at developers who want to use the new UDFs functionality to push work down to the SPUs. That seems like an odd goal for a database company, even one with proprietary hardware.

Unless, of course, Netezza doesn't really consider itself a database company anymore.

And so, we've come full circle. I think the database world is running away from Netezza, but not because Netezza is standing still. I think they're just running in a totally different direction.

I wonder how long it'll take the world to catch up with them this time...

Josh's Rules of Software Devlopment

I hate to be all "me too", but I think that Josh's Rules are perfectly applicable to development of all database-driven applications... contract work or otherwise.

And maybe even all software development in general, for that matter...