Thursday, July 21, 2016

EXASOL, an in-memory, MPP analytic database

EXASOL - Extreme Analytic Solution

This week we started to look into EXASOL, an in-memory, MPP database focused on analytics.  So the question might be - why EXASOL?  We already have HP's Vertica, Teradata, and Microsoft's Analytics Platform System to name just a few.  For EXASOL, it was a combination of factors.
[see EXASOL for our expanding coverage]

VM's, the Cloud and the need for speed

The long term future for much of the database analytic world points to the cloud. Today, managing small data sets just might be cheaper on-site. Especially if you already have an IT team. Longer term, the cloud costs will drop, while we can expect that local administration costs will increase.  But with large data sets, and complex SAN's and data-backup protocols - the cloud is looking increasingly better.

Consider email. How many of us manage our email server? Or your customer relationship management system. Salesforce does a big business managing CRM.  And that takes us back to EXASOL.  Historically, virtually all of our work at Realized Design focuses on the Microsoft BI tool kit. It's easy to use, generally inexpensive and supports both on-premises and cloud installations. And with the recent release of the updated Power BI,  and the updated SQL Server Reporting Services, it has a lot to offer.  And, if you are a Microsoft shop, chances are slim that either Oracle or Teradata provide cost-effective alternatives. 

EXASOL, on the other hand, intrigues us. We noticed that it officially supported SSAS ROLAP as the backend. ROLAP in theory was great.  Use SSAS as the middle tier connected to a real-time database. Data could be inserted and updated in real-time, allowing users to immediately see the committed updates. Unfortunately, row-oriented databases were not designed for analysis.  They were designed when accounting was the primary system in use and why the ACID protocol was so important.

We first heard about EXASOL from reports about its performance on the TPC-H decision support benchmark. (see   Looking over the results,  from small data sets (100GB) to large (100,000 GB), EXASOL's performance was orders of magnitude better compared to other solutions.

The future is the cloud, and EXASOL supports Microsoft's Azure, Amazon's AWS, EXASOL's own cloud and bigstep.  [I did not know bigstep either, but it sounds good]. And for an onsite review, a free, fully useable virtual machine version is offered.  
[see EXASOL for our expanding coverage]

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