IBM Informix - SQL & NoSQL
Performance and scalability of Informix ultimate warehouse edtion on Intel Xeon 7500 and E7 processors
keshavamurthy 0600019DXM Tags:  warehouse oracle exalytics accelerator intel hana scalability xeon informix sap performance 2,578 Visits
keshavamurthy 0600019DXM Tags:  exalytics analytics accelerator warehouse informix in-memory oracle ibm 5,717 Visits
2011 seems to be the year of in-memory analytics. Informix warehouse accelerator was released in March 2011, SAP HANA in June 2011, and now Oracle Exalytics. So, the competition is expected to heat up with additional offerings.
Last week, Oracle announced their in-memory appliance, Exalytics. Naturally, many question on its features, performance, pricing abound. This quick comparison is based on public information Oracle has released.
Informix Warehouse Accelerator Oracle Exalytics
IWA: Software offering that can be deployed on Linux/Intel
environment SMP, cluster, virtual and cloud environments. The host Informix database can be run on Linux/Intel,
HP-UX/Itanium, AIX/Power, Sparc/Solaris environments.
Exalytics: Runs on 4-socket Intel Westmere with 1TB (whether it runs Linux or Solaris) and can be combined to create a an exalytics pool. Would need use the specified hardware from Oracle to use this.
IWA: Designed to provide consistent performance without additional tuning and maintenance like index creation, statistics collection, cubing, pre-calculation of aggregates. Advanced algorithms achieve query on compressed data, exploit the SIMD instructions, on-chip cache, etc. See the details in this paper.
Exalytics: Performance is achieved In-Memory intelligent result set cache, In-Memory cubes and tuning the resultset caches, cubes, etc. Here is a quote from Oracle paper: For best query acceleration, Oracle Exalytics provides tools to analyze usage, identify and automate the pre-seeding of result caches. The pre-seeding ensures instant responsiveness for queries at run time.
IWA: SSED (Source system extracted data) gets 3x compression and uses Huffman encoding to compress the data. Compression is done both to reduce the size of the data in-memory and to improve query performance on compressed data. The compression techniques are well published, peer reviewed.
Exalytics: Claims typical 5x compression. No information on whether the size comparison includes the size of the index/etc.
IWA: Requires only standard ethernet.
Exalytics: Needs Infiniband.
Supported Applications and compatibility.
IWA: Designed to accelerate application performance without needing any changes to application, reports or BI tools.
Exalytics: Designed to work with Oracle BI Foundation
only. Optional optimized version of Oracle BI
Foundation to improve the performance by 3X. Optional usually means additonal cost of acquisition. Essentially, if you're not a 100% oracle, Exa* platform shop, you can't use Exalytics. The interface seems to be via Essbase, because Oracle says Essbase applications will run as is. It also comes with a new data visualization tool.
Exalytics seems to be packgaing of Exadata (in the backend), TimesTen (for frontend and resultset caching), Essbase (for cubing services). There are additional technologies like in-memory columnar compression. The performance relies heavily on resulset caching (run the query once, save the results in-memory and when the same query comes again, return the query without actually executing), cubing. This means, the DBA will have to ensure right cubes are created, right results are cached, etc, etc. In-memory analytics should lead to less pre-calculation, not more. For tuning the workload, the 4-star wizard has to turn in to 5-star wizard to learn and tune all the new parameters, environment of Exalytics. Even with this, the best performance seems to be 15X to 20X.
Informix Warehouse Accelerator is designed to simultaneously improve performance 10x-100x and reduce the DBA effort
for query tuning. Once you define the data that's accelerated, there's no tuning to do (like cubing, resultset caching).
The incredible performance comes from innovative architecture and patented algorithms. Because of this,
IWA can run in SMP, Cluster, virtual and Cloud environments providing this great performance.
Unlike Exalytics, IWA is designed to accelerate queries from custom applications and third party BI tools.
With competition heating up, all of these products are expected to improve in coming quarters...stay tuned.
FYI: If you're attending Informix on Demand conference, come by the demo booth and check out the demos. Informix Warehouse accelerator is also available for a test drive (part of Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition - Time Limited. Download here.).
Feel free to comment/ask questions. I'll try to respond.