Feeds

ParAccel flashes data warehouses

Thinking in columns

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

ParAccel - one of the many upstarts that is chasing the data warehousing and analytics dollars these days - has tweaked its ParAccel Analytic Database 2.0 software and its underlying homegrown Linux operating system so that the x64 nodes on which it runs can be equipped with flash-based drives. And that, the company says, will boost query performance.

The ParAccel analytics database and the data warehousing clusters that are built using it are not just glorified relational databases that organize record information in rows and then scan it to do queries, but rather use a columnar format that organizes data by field. (The Sybase IQ database, which is used in several thousand data warehouses and which is distinct from the regular Adaptive Server relational database, also organizes data in columns).

Organizing relational databases by row is key for transaction processing, where you want to locate a record among zillions, read its data, and maybe modify it. But in a data warehouse, where you want to sort data and extract answers from the tables underlying the database, this row orientation gets in the way and slows everything down. Which is why Barry Zane, one of the founders of data warehousing appliance maker Netezza, left the company and started ParAccel in 2006.

Here's a simple example: Say you have a subset of the US census data with 10 different answers to questions stored in 10 fields in a relational database. Say each one has 10 bytes of data. In the row-oriented relational data warehouse, if you want to ask a question about the state and age of citizens, you have to scan all ten fields, for a total of 1,000 bytes.

But in a columnar database, you know you only want to look at the age and state columns, and you are only scanning 200 bytes to do a query. With the ParAccel database, you run the database in a shared-nothing, massively parallel cluster of servers with a mix of local server and remote SAN storage, and you can radically speed up table scans and queries as well as loading of data onto the database because everything is parallelized.

The addition of flash to PADB 2.0, which started shipping in June, doesn't boost performance as much as you might expect, and that's because of the clever things that the database already does with local and remote storage to goose performance. According to Kim Stanick, vice president of marketing at ParAccel, customers should expect about a 15 per cent performance boost if they add some flash drives to their x64 servers, and when the reduced power consumption is taken into account, they might see a 25 per cent increase in queries per watt. That's nothing to shake a stick at, but it is not the kind of performance improvement you would expect given the very high I/O rates of flash drives.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Redmondian roots

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.