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Google's MapReduce suddenly not so backward

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What was seen as a major hole in Google's MapReduce database technology has been plugged, not once but twice. In the same week.

Californian start-up Aster Data and its more established rival Greenplum have both launched SQL integration for MapReduce.

The lack of SQL tools was one of the main criticisms levelled at MapReduce in January 2008 by database gurus Michael Stonebraker and David DeWitt. They hammered MapReduce for its failure to offer SQL, describing - to the consternation of many - Google's offering as "a major step backwards" in database technology.

Aster Data, founded in 2005 by three ex-Stanford post-graduate students, brought its Aster nCluster massively parallel processing (MPP) database technology to market in May 2008. It counts MySpace and Aggregate Knowledge as customers. Aster chief executive Mayank Bawa wrote in this blog that nCluster brings the advantages of relational SQL to MapReduce's large-scale database.

Greenplum takes a slightly different tack, emphasising the "next-generation data warehouse" credentials of its database technology. Founded in 2003, its customers include Nasdaq, LinkedIn and Indian telco Reliance Communications. ®

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