Sun and Greenplum introduced a data warehouse appliance that uses the new Sun Fire X4500 server (formerly known as Thumper) and Greenplum's massively parallel distribution of PostgreSQL, Bizgres MPP. Here's what the two companies claim about the appliance:
- Two orders of magnitude better price- performance over competition
- Performance boost of 10 to 50 times over existing competition
- Scan a terabyte of data in 60 seconds
- Industry’s most energy efficient solution, at only 90W per terabyte
- Leverages the first and only data server that combines a 4-way server with 24TB of storage in a single integrated system.
- Massively parallel processing that leverages a high-performance interconnect, enabling database clustering across multiple servers.
- Lowest costs in the market, at less than $20,000 per usable terabyte
According to Luke Lonergon, CTO and co-founder of Greenplum, partner Cap Gemini is seeing 50 to 100 times better performance with the Sun/Greenplum appliance than with producs from the market leader, Teradata. Greenplum CEO Scott Yara told me that general purpose computing, as in the Sun Fire 4500 (Solaris, AMD Opteron, ZFS), is going to replace special purpose machines with custom ASICs, operating systems and interconnects. "We are seeing customers paying $350,000 and upward per usable terabyte," Yara said. "We have the iPod for enterprise, but 30,000 times larger."
Data Warehouse Appliance customer and pundit Tim O'Reilly is quoted in the press release: “We are enthusiastic about this data warehouse appliance as it can transform the way companies think about handling big data. In the new era of Web 2.0, data will become the next Intel Inside. Together, Sun and Greenplum are creating exciting technologies based on open-source that will help power the next generation of companies and services.”
The question for the Sun and Greenplum is whether the previous generation of companies, spending billions of dollars annually, will buy into the new data warehouse appliance. Based on the claims, customers should be lining up to get one of these machines when they become available in the next few months. If they aren't, something must be wrong with the claims or another company has figured out how to built a similar solution as less cost. Pricing for the 40TB and 100TB configurations begins at $15,000 per usable terabyte, and 10TB configuration pricing starts at $25,000 per usable terabyte.
Update: Stephen Shankland reports on storage-server hybrids coming into vogue--IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems like the idea of combining processing power and storage, but skeptics say it's a throwback.