Netezza Adds Data Warehousing Appliance

Netezza last week added an appliance to its data warehousing product line that's targeted at companies with 400GB to 1TB of data.

The move signals a focus on a new target market for Netezza, which traditionally has sold its hardware/software bundles to high-end companies with about 10TB of data, according to Netezza executives. The new NPS 8025 model of Netezza's 8000 Series data center appliance line rolls together servers, database software and storage that let users analyze large amounts of business intelligence data, said Jit Saxena, co-founder and CEO of Netezza.

"Companies today want to look at all the detail of their customer transactions, of their clickstream transactions -- huge amounts of data," Saxena said. "We have been able to use commodity components, [and] we can put the processing power where it is best utilized to keep costs low." In Netezza appliances, the CPU power is next to the data, enabling quick analysis of large amounts of data, he explained.

Analysts said that while the appliance could appeal to smaller companies that don't have extensive data warehousing expertise, Netezza could face a rougher reception at sites that have standardized on hardware and databases.

Epsilon Data Management Inc. has used the Netezza appliance to integrate several smaller databases, said Mike Coakley, vice president of marketing technology partnerships and alliances at the Wakefield, Mass.-based marketing services company.

In addition to providing Epsilon customers with the speed needed to analyze large amounts of data quickly, the appliance has helped Epsilon cut its maintenance costs. "If you're buying big IBM iron and then you have to put the relational database on it and add the disk, those are significant costs," Coakley said.

Dan Vesset, an analyst at IDC, said that users in small companies and in departments of large companies may find the appliance appealing because they often don't have the IT expertise to manage separate data warehousing components.

In addition, Netezza has a unique feature that allows users to load data into the appliance, do ad hoc analysis and then dump the data, he said.

Wayne Eckerson, director of research at The Data Warehousing Institute in Seattle, noted that Netezza is one of the first vendors to offer an appliance for data warehousing. As a result, Eckerson said, its customers so far are mostly early adopters.

"We're seeing companies moving gradually into appliances, [as most] companies have already committed to database and hardware platforms," he said. "Changing those things is not done lightly."

In addition, the full 8000 Series appliances were upgraded to offer improved workload management and faster bulk data movement speeds.

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