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Posted by James Kobielus on February 6, 2009
Today we published the first Forrester Wave™ specifically focused on Enterprise Data Warehousing (EDW) Platforms. The final published report is now available on Forrester’s website to clients. Information and knowledge management (I&KM) professionals will find it a timely and actionable study of the leading EDW platform vendors: Teradata, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Sybase, and Netezza. I urge you to download and read it, and then engage me, the author-analyst, in inquiries and advisories to help you apply it to your EDW initiatives.
The key takeaway from this Wave is that scalability, flexibility, and affordability are the dominant requirements in today’s budget-stressed EDW platforms market. I&KM professionals are under the gun, trying to keep EDW and business intelligence (BI) costs under tight control while preserving the flexibility to grow and repurpose these investments to support an ever-changing array of decision-support requirements. Hence, an EDW platform--to score well in the Wave--should address the following high-bar requirements:
EDW platforms vendors that can’t address these key requirements--now or in their enhancement road maps over the coming 2-3 years--will not survive in this very competitive arena.
As noted above and in my blog post last week, scalability, performance, and optimization are perhaps the most important criteria in today’s EDW market. And, of course, they are quite difficult to nail down into a single yardstick that does justice to different vendors’ approaches. Nevertheless, I believe this Wave accomplishes that. I have boiled down “scalability, performance, and optimization” (SPO) into a single criterion that defines five profiles (from 5= most scalable to 1 = least scalable), focusing on the degree of parallelism in the underlying architecture.
For each of the vendors in this Wave, I got a deep dive on their SPO architecture, but I didn’t stop there. I asked each vendor for reference customers, and conducted a structured interview with each. I asked each for a list and description of their largest production customer deployments. And I asked each for published benchmarks, plus all the supporting info on how the test environments, scenarios, and criteria. In other words, I applied the standard Forrester Wave methodology.
Essentially, the customer deployment and benchmark data corroborated whether a vendor in fact earned the particular SPO score associated with their architectural approach. Clearly, there were plenty of gray areas. Also, quite clearly, vendors had plenty of comments on the definitions of the SPO scales, and on where they fell on this spectrum. And, of course, many pointed out that being scored, say, a “2” rather than a “4” or “5” didn’t necessarily mean they were slower, less efficient, or incapable of processing various EDW and BI workloads. It also didn’t mean that they couldn’t, in practice and in customer deployments, push the scalability and speed envelope that one would associate with their architecture. Architecture isn’t destiny, but it definitely sets SPO constraints, which is the whole point of the scoring on this criterion in this Wave.
All the vendor feedback was excellent and helped me tweak and tune the scale to fit the EDW market’s current and emerging state of the art. With that said, here are the final SPO scales in this Wave:
To see how the vendors ranked, you’ll need to read the Wave. Or engage me in an inquiry or advisory. Or, preferably, both.