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  • Amazon and its cloud

    Analysis of Amazon’s role in database and analytic technology, especially via the S3/EC2 cloud computing initiative. Also covered are SimpleDB and Amazon’s role as a technology user. Related subjects include:

    December 15, 2017

    The technology industry is under broad political attack

    I apologize for posting a December downer, but this needs to be said.

    The technology industry is under attack:

    These attacks:

    You’ve surely noticed some of these attacks. But you may not have noticed just how many different attacks and criticisms there are, on multiple levels.

    Read more

    August 17, 2017

    More notes on the transition to the cloud

    Last year I posted observations about the transition to the cloud. Here are some further thoughts.

    0. In case any doubt remained, the big questions about transitioning to the cloud are “When?” and “How?”. “Whether”, by way of contrast, is pretty much settled.

    1. The answer to “When?” is generally “Over many years”. In particular, at most enterprises the cloud transition will span multiple CIO’s tenure in their positions.

    Few enterprises will ever execute on simple, consistent, unchanging “cloud strategies”.

    2. The SaaS (Software as a Service) vs. on-premises tradeoffs are being reargued, except that proponents now spell SaaS C-L-O-U-D. (Ali Ghodsi of Databricks made a particularly energetic version of that case in a recent meeting.)

    3. In most countries (at least in the US and the rest of the West), the cloud vendors deemed to matter are Amazon, followed by Microsoft, followed by Google. And so, when it comes to the public cloud, Microsoft is much, much more enterprise-savvy than its key competitors.

    Read more

    June 14, 2017

    Cloudera Altus

    I talked with Cloudera before the recent release of Altus. In simplest terms, Cloudera’s cloud strategy aspires to:

    In other words, Cloudera is porting its software to an important new platform.* And this port isn’t complete yet, in that Altus is geared only for certain workloads. Specifically, Altus is focused on “data pipelines”, aka data transformation, aka “data processing”, aka new-age ETL (Extract/Transform/Load). (Other kinds of workload are on the roadmap, including several different styles of Impala use.) So what about that is particularly interesting? Well, let’s drill down.

    *Or, if you prefer, improving on early versions of the port.

    Read more

    October 3, 2016

    Notes on the transition to the cloud

    1. The cloud is super-hot. Duh. And so, like any hot buzzword, “cloud” means different things to different marketers. Four of the biggest things that have been called “cloud” are:

    Further, there’s always the idea of hybrid cloud, in which a vendor peddles private cloud systems (usually appliances) running similar technology stacks to what they run in their proprietary public clouds. A number of vendors have backed away from such stories, but a few are still pushing it, including Oracle and Microsoft.

    This is a good example of Monash’s Laws of Commercial Semantics.

    2. Due to economies of scale, only a few companies should operate their own data centers, aka true on-prem(ises). The rest should use some combination of colo, SaaS, and public cloud.

    This fact now seems to be widely understood.

    Read more

    August 28, 2016

    Are analytic RDBMS and data warehouse appliances obsolete?

    I used to spend most of my time — blogging and consulting alike — on data warehouse appliances and analytic DBMS. Now I’m barely involved with them. The most obvious reason is that there have been drastic changes in industry structure:

    Simply reciting all that, however, begs the question of whether one should still care about analytic RDBMS at all.

    My answer, in a nutshell, is:

    Analytic RDBMS — whether on premises in software, in the form of data warehouse appliances, or in the cloud — are still great for hard-core business intelligence, where “hard-core” can refer to ad-hoc query complexity, reporting/dashboard concurrency, or both. But they aren’t good for much else.

    Read more

    July 19, 2016

    Notes on vendor lock-in

    Vendor lock-in is an important subject. Everybody knows that. But few of us realize just how complicated the subject is, nor how riddled it is with paradoxes. Truth be told, I wasn’t fully aware either. But when I set out to write this post, I found that it just kept growing longer.

    1. The most basic form of lock-in is:

    2. Enterprise vendor standardization is closely associated with lock-in. The core idea is that you have a mandate or strong bias toward having different apps run over the same platforms, because:

    3. That last point is double-edged; you have more power over suppliers to whom you give more business, but they also have more power over you. The upshot is often an ELA (Enterprise License Agreement), which commonly works:

    Read more

    May 18, 2016

    Governments vs. tech companies — it’s complicated

    Numerous tussles fit the template:

    As a general rule, what’s best for any kind of company is — pricing and so on aside — whatever is best or most pleasing for their customers or users. This would suggest that it is in tech companies’ best interest to favor privacy, but there are two important quasi-exceptions: Read more

    January 22, 2016

    Cloudera in the cloud(s)

    Cloudera released Version 2 of Cloudera Director, which is a companion product to Cloudera Manager focused specifically on the cloud. This led to a discussion about — you guessed it! — Cloudera and the cloud.

    Making Cloudera run in the cloud has three major aspects:

    Features new in this week’s release of Cloudera Director include:

    I.e., we’re talking about some pretty basic/checklist kinds of things. Cloudera Director is evidently working for Amazon AWS and Google GCP, and planned for Windows Azure, VMware and OpenStack.

    As for porting, let me start by noting: Read more

    December 7, 2015

    Transitioning to the cloud(s)

    There’s a lot of talk these days about transitioning to the cloud, by IT customers and vendors alike. Of course, I have thoughts on the subject, some of which are below.

    1. The economies of scale of not running your own data centers are real. That’s the kind of non-core activity almost all enterprises should outsource. Of course, those considerations taken alone argue equally for true cloud, co-location or SaaS (Software as a Service).

    2. When the (Amazon) cloud was newer, I used to hear that certain kinds of workloads didn’t map well to the architecture Amazon had chosen. In particular, shared-nothing analytic query processing was necessarily inefficient. But I’m not hearing nearly as much about that any more.

    3. Notwithstanding the foregoing, not everybody loves Amazon pricing.

    4. Infrastructure vendors such as Oracle would like to also offer their infrastructure to you in the cloud. As per the above, that could work. However:

    Actually, if we replace “Oracle” by “Microsoft”, the whole idea sounds better. While Microsoft doesn’t have a proprietary server hardware story like Oracle’s, many folks are content in the Microsoft walled garden. IBM has fiercely loyal customers as well, and so may a couple of Japanese computer manufacturers.

    5. Even when running stuff in the cloud is otherwise a bad idea, there’s still: Read more

    July 7, 2015

    Zoomdata and the Vs

    Let’s start with some terminology biases:

    So when my clients at Zoomdata told me that they’re in the business of providing “the fastest visual analytics for big data”, I understood their choice, but rolled my eyes anyway. And then I immediately started to check how their strategy actually plays against the “big data” Vs.

    It turns out that:

    *The HDFS/S3 aspect seems to be a major part of Zoomdata’s current story.

    Core aspects of Zoomdata’s technical strategy include:? Read more

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