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The Net Takeaway: Coremetrics and Asterdata


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Coremetrics and Asterdata · 11/12/2009 12:43 PM, Database Analysis

It’s old news to some, but new to others. Coremetrics licensed Asterdata’s high speed analytic processing database systems a few months ago, and I was lucky enough to see some coming attractions based on the tech changes.

I am not able to say details on what I saw, but I can say that having Asterdata on the back end is really starting to open up possibilities for them. Like many of these systems, you stop thinking in terms of what is possible given the constraints of the database, and instead say “what if I just open up the flexibility to the user, and assume the database can scale up to meet it?”.

Folks who come from ROLAP and MOLAP backgrounds on the big 3 (Oracle, MS’s SQL Server, IBM’s DB2) all seem stuck in a mindset of “what queries can we handle given that we need tons of indexes, temp space, and denormalized fact tables?”. Asterdata, Greenplum, Netezza, etc. all change this mindset into “just write the SQL and we’ll make the query work”. (Yes, it’s not your eyes, all 3 of these sites look almost identical). The rise of parallelization and columnar data stores, and the recent addition of map/reduce frameworks and cloud capability into these systems, can provide massive speedups for ongoing flexible reporting, but more importantly, provides the the ability to drive a wide variety of ad-hoc analytic queries at speed.

What was Coremetrics using before? Well, I can point you to this Coremetrics press release from 2000 where they licensed EMC, Oracle and Sun Microsystems and one could assume that some of that tech has stayed around all these years, upgraded faithfully over time, just like every other enterprise.

If you are interested in keeping up with this new world of analytically enhanced databases, the Monash Research DBMS2 site is, without question, the best source for information about these companies. Every post is full of interesting database goodies, technical enough to go below the marketing, but business savvy enough to understand what market needs each company is meeting and missing. Highly recommended.

As Coremetrics allows me to speak publicly about what I am seeing, I’ll point out some of what I like and some of what is still missing. My hope for them is that they manage to embrace the flexibility this new platform offers instead of staying constrained to point fixes on current capability. What I’ve seen so far is very promising… but only when it’s in our hands will we know if it truly opens new doors for us.

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