I Know Nothing About Data Warehouse Appliances and Now, So Won’t You – Part III. Tuning Data Warehouse Appliances.

I spent a little time last night perusing Stuart Frost’s blog (CEO, DATAllegro) and learned something new. Microsoft, it appears, has ported Windows and SQL Server to platforms beyond x86, x86_64 and IA64. I quote:

Database vendors such as Oracle and Microsoft have to build their software to run on any hardware. Hence there are a plethora of tuning parameters and options for the DBA and sys admins to setup.

No, MSFT products do not run on enough platforms to somehow make them difficult to tune.

Oracle’s port list has gotten “quite small” over the years due to the death of all the niche players (Sequent, Pyramid, SGI, Data General, etc). The 10gR2 list is down to 20 ports according to OTN. And, yes, deploying the same database software on a 4 CPU platform and a 128 CPU platform in the same day might make most Oracle professionals give a little extra consideration to certain tuning parameters. I don’t think that is a weakness on the part of Oracle though.

From what I can see of DATAllegro, the primary ingredient in the DATAllegro secret sauce is strong focus on getting full bandwidth from all the drives. That is a difficult value proposition to argue with, but the topic is certainly nothing new as my post entitled Hard Drives Are Arcane Technology. So Why Can’t I Realize Their Full Bandwidth Potential? will attest.

Tuning Your Toaster or Refrigerator

So this whole blog entry was to call out Stuart Frost’s comment that insinuted Oracle is difficult to deal with because it is ported to so many platforms. I hate to break the news, but platform specific Oracle tunables (i.e., init.ora) have been on the steep downhill trend since Oracle8i. They are considered very undesirable, but they do, for obvious reasons, exist in some ports. Having said that, how does having a few extra port-specific tunables in, say, the HP-UX port supposedly make life more difficult for an Oracle DBA working in a Linux shop? It doesn’t. It is a red herring.

If you think the fact that DATAllegro is marketed as an appliance somehow limits it tunables to the degree of your toaster or refrigerator, just remember that there is Ingres in there and you can feel free to read the 37 pages in the Ingres DBA Guide dedicated to storage structures alone.

I’m not too smart, but I know for certain that my refrigerator didn’t come with 37 pages of documentation explaining the ice maker attachment.

1 Response to “I Know Nothing About Data Warehouse Appliances and Now, So Won’t You – Part III. Tuning Data Warehouse Appliances.”

  1. 1 Jeff Gee August 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    If you really know nothing about the concept of a data warehouse appliance – then check out the one from http://Greenplum.com

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