SAP's Sybase: big data by the people, of the people, for the people

It’s not much more than about a month since SAP’s Sybase division launched its Sybase IQ 15.3 columnar Relational DataBase Management System (RDBMS) in an attempt to win over converts to its newly beefed up product.

Flaunting this product’s Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) and Sybase-branded IQ PlexQ technologies, the company says that its 15.3 release will lead to no less than “data warehouse transformation” — breaking down both user- and information-silos to drive analytics adoption throughout an entire organisation as it does.

But behind the marketing-speak, Sybase may just have a nice little piece of kit here. This is not just about being able to process so-called “big data”; this is making big data available to many (hundreds, thousands even) users across an organisation — and this is data with real value as a result of its passage through complex analytics engines to tune it and manage it.

Here’s the good bit…

“With Sybase IQ PlexQ, IT departments can implement virtual data marts in order to optimise the experience for different applications and user communities. Sybase IQ PlexQ dynamically balances query workloads across nodes on the grid for massively parallel processing of complex analytics at speeds 10 to 100 times faster than traditional data warehouses,” said the company, in a press statement.

Sybase IQ 15.3’s MPP (massively parallel processing) grid architecture basically allows a sharing of processing power, memory and access to data, so that a huge number of users can all perform some of their own analytics — but the database administrator (DBA) and developer team can still keep a degree of control as needed.

“Enterprise IT departments are demanding new ways to enhance their enterprise data warehouse systems to increase intelligence, productivity and analytics capability across the enterprise,” said Brian Vink, VP, product management, Sybase.

“Sybase IQ, with its PlexQ technology, brings customers a powerful, yet simplified, approach that overcomes traditional data warehouse limitations. IT departments can now support users across the enterprise with many concurrent workloads and large datasets on a single, highly scalable elastic grid, significantly increasing analytics intelligence across the enterprise while reducing IT administration burden.”

Want to know more? I’ll be at SAP TechEd in a few week’s time to dig for deeper data details.

An EXTENDED set of comments with additional product information from Sybase as well as commentary from Forrester analyst James Kobielus follows below (or if you’re on the blog home page, follow the ‘Continue reading’ link).

“With a deepening focus on in-memory execution, Sybase is expanding its in-database analytics libraries to address new opportunities across many vertical markets. Through its central role in catalyzing SAP’s move toward a completely in-memory, columnar EDW platform, Sybase plays a pivotal role in helping its parent fend off aggressive assaults from Oracle and others in the EDW (Enterprise Data Warehouse) market. In this Wave, Forrester evaluated SAP Sybase’s EDW value proposition separately from the pre-acquisition EDW portfolio of its new parent,” said Forrester analyst James Kobielus.

“SAP Sybase offers many differentiators in the EDW market. It provides a best-of-breed real-time analytics solution portfolio that incorporates IQ’s mature columnar database technology. It ships in software and appliance form factors, with midmarket-focused pricing on Sybase’s EDW appliances. Also, its IQ-based offerings support parallel scale-out in the query/access tier through a robust grid technology, supplementing the ingest-tier parallelism supported by the vendor’s ETL technology.

“The vendor integrates its EDW offerings with its data modeling and data integration tools. Furthermore, SAP Sybase’s EDW offerings run on a broad range of software and hardware platforms. It supports considerable extensibility and customization through in-database analytics, LDMs, UDFs, and stored procedures. And, among other differentiators, it supports execution flexibility through a hybrid of in-memory/caching and disk-based execution in all EDW tiers.

“However, SAP Sybase has not yet demonstrated a ramped-up commitment to professional services focused on EDW opportunities — and it has no cloud/SaaS partners focused on EDW.

“Nevertheless, SAP Sybase stakes claim to a strong installed base, customer-size segment diversification, geographic momentum, and partnerships (software and professional services) in the EDW market. It promotes a differentiating go-to-market message focused on in-memory, real-time, columnar, cloud, parallel processing, cloud, virtualization, predictive analytics, complex event processing, solid-state drive, Hadoop, unstructured data, mobile access, and OLTP/analytics integration technologies.

“It invested significantly to expand its EDW presence in the midmarket customer segment and diverse vertical markets in addition to its stronghold in financial services. It has stepped up a focus on price-performance, scalability, TCO, and flexible deployment of the IQ portfolio of EDW solutions. It has expanded its partner-focused in-database analytics strategy. SAP Sybase has intensified efforts to expand its presence in the OEM market. Also, it has shifted its go-to-market strategy to focus on solution-based EDW offerings for new vertical markets and use cases.

“Sybase’s mature columnar EDW platform, coupled with a fresh injection of development capital from new parent SAP, gives it a competitive advantage. Expect SAP Sybase will leverage these strengths, plus intensify its focus on in-memory and in-database analytics, to grow its share of the EDW market among large enterprises requiring robust real-time analytics solutions.”

Sybase IQ 15.3 key new features include:

  • Sybase IQ PlexQ – A grid based MPP framework that unleashes the power of multiple CPU cores across many servers on large data sets to provide fast answers across a wide spectrum of complex queries
  • Distributed Query Processing – Execute individual queries across many machines in a PlexQ grid for MPP, yet automatically balance workloads across the grid during peak periods
  • Logical Servers – Group physical servers in a PlexQ grid into virtual clusters in order to optimize analytic workloads, user needs and applications
  • Built-in Web Services API and Ruby-on-Rails language driver – Simplify integration with workflow processes and web-based applications to publish and consume web services that take advantage of a new generation of analytical applications
  • Multimedia API – Integratelibraries for in-database analysis of images, audio, video and other multimedia content that increase the value of business analytics for unstructured as well as structured information
  • InfoPrimer Module – Dramatically simplify and accelerate loading of data into Sybase IQ through Extract, Load, and Transform methodology, allowing data transformations to take place where they make the most sense to the customer
  • Rich, web-based administration and monitoring interface – Leverage Sybase Control Center to greatly simplify operational tasks for DBAs and provides a thin client interface for ease of Sybase IQ administration