Greenplum aims for cheaper datawarehousing

As it launches in the UK, Greenplum focuses on scalability at a low cost and industry-standard hardware to attract users
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Greenplum, a US datawarehousing company, is preparing to open its first European office in the UK, where it wants to increase its profile and market share.

The company says it plans to undercut current incumbents in the UK such as Teradata and Netezza. It is also banking on the fact that while both of these competitor solutions are built on proprietary hardware, Greenplum's solution is built on open hardware, which means customers can choose their own. Greenplum's main partner is Sun and the company offers a packaged solution based on the Sun Fire X4100.

Greenplum's vice president of corporate marketing, Paul Salazar, said the Sun hardware allows Greenplum to offer a particularly competitive system. "A standard Sun X4500 which is 4U high, has 48 disk drives with 24TB of data capacity is priced at several tens of thousands of dollars depending on how you configure it", he said.

Of the maximum hard disk capacity, about 5TB is available for datawarehousing once Raid and other essentials are accounted for, said Salazar. A Greenplum solution costs "$20,000 per useful terabyte". With the pricing of the Sun system, said Salazar, it is easy for customes to increase the size of their datawarehousing solutions incrementally. Greenplum has start-up customers who are dependent on data that have "an enormous system of hardware that's extremely fast" and cost about $100,000 (£50,000), he said.

The software is based on the open-source database PostgreSQL, which Greenplum tweaked to distribute data across all the available nodes on a network and then parallelises it to speed up performance. The "secret sauce", said Salazar, is the query optimiser, which tries to work out the best and fastest way to split up a query so it can be dealt with most efficiently.

Greenplum is a private company and in January had its latest round of venture capital funding, $27m (£14m), to help fund its expansion into Europe and elsewhere. The company has not yet chosen where in the UK to open the office, but has begun the process of recruiting sales and pre-sales staff.

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