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Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

Your source of IBM database software news (DB2, Informix, Hadoop, & more)

Archive for the ‘IBM Smart Analytics System’ Category

New IBM Smart Analytics Systems

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Oracle garnered a lot of headlines a couple of weeks ago with their Oracle Database Appliance. It didn’t take long for SmarterQuestions to indicate why the IBM Smart Analytics Systems are A Smarter Database System for SMB Clients.

Recently, IBM added the following systems:

  • IBM Smart Analytics System 5710, which is an x86-based Linux system
  • IBM Smart Analytics System 7710, which is a Power Systems-based UNIX system
  • IBM Smart Analytics System 9710, which are mainframe-based systems

These systems include everything you need to quickly set up a data warehouse environment, and to quickly have your business analysts working with the data.

On top of the servers and storage, it includes database and data warehouse software, Cognos software, cubing services, data mining capabilities, and text analytic capabilities. And it is available on your platform of choice (Linux, UNIX, or mainframe). It is also competitively priced, when you consider that the starting price for the 5710 is under $50k, just like the Oracle appliance. However, the IBM system includes all of the necessary software, whereas with the Oracle appliance you have to purchase the very expensive Oracle Database software separately. And the Oracle Database software is not exactly inexpensive.

If you want to learn more, please visit the IBM Smart Analytics Systems Web page.

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Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 13, 2011 at 11:26 am

IBM Smart Analytics System vs. Oracle Exadata for Data Warehouse Environments

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Here is a video where Philip Howard, Research Director at Bloor Research, evaluates performance, scalability, administration, and cost considerations for IBM Smart Analytics System and Oracle Exadata [for data warehouse environments]. This video is packed with great practical advice for evaluating these products.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

August 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

Performance Information for Oracle Exadata?

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It is difficult to get direct performance comparisons between Oracle Exadata and competing products. Last month, The Register published what may be such a comparison in its IBM: Our appliance servers smoke Ellison’s ‘phony baloney’ article. They include an image that compares the performance and price of the IBM Smart Analytics System with a leading competitor. The IBM Smart Analytics System is, of course, an integrated hardware/software system for data warehousing and analytics that is based on DB2. The article covers an IBM Investor Day presentation that was delivered by Steve Mills of IBM, and includes the following explanatory passage:

“We benchmark all the time,” Mills said, and he pulled out some real tests to support his point. “We have a favorite competitor who likes the color red. We like the color blue. This is real workload benchmarking, not some phony baloney made-up thing that goes in an ad. We deliver a system that is fast for what customers run.”

Here is the chart that is included in the article. The Register assert that the competitor in red is Oracle Exadata.

Comparing Performance of IBM Smart Analytics System and Oracle Exadata

Written by Conor O'Mahony

April 13, 2011 at 9:22 am

Comparing Price for Oracle Exadata and IBM Smart Analytics System

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Curt Monash recently claimed that the only realistic metric for pricing data warehouse appliances is price-per-terabyte. Neither IBM (at the moment anyway; Netezza acquisition pending) or Oracle currently price-per-terabyte. However, I’d like to share some interesting capacity/pricing information for IBM and Oracle’s current data warehouse appliance-like products.

Below, you can see capacity/pricing information for three comparable configurations. I was struggling with labels for these three configurations. I’ve settled on big, bigger, and even bigger.

I think you’ll agree that the relative costs provide some food for thought. Probably the biggest factor in the gulf between the IBM and Oracle prices is the software license and maintenance costs—IBM InfoSphere Warehouse (which is powered by DB2) includes many of the software add-ons that must be purchased separately for the Oracle configurations.

I have highlighted the row indicating the uncompressed storage capacity for “user space” and the row indicating the list price. Of course, the list price does not reflect the considerable discounting that is typically offered by vendors like IBM and Oracle.

Big Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 2050 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Medium 1/4 Rack
Total Storage 14.4TB 21TB
Total Available Protected Storage 12TB (RAID5) 10.5TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 6.6TB Uncompressed 6TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $164,394** $2,318,976***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
OLAP Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $79,200 / year

Bigger Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 5600 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Small (4 data modules) 1/2 Rack
Total Storage 57.6TB 50TB
Total Available Protected Storage 35.2TB (RAID6) 24TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 20TB Uncompressed 14TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $2.7M** $4.7M***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
OLAP, Data Mining, Text Mining Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $184,800 / year
PCIe Solid State Flash Memory 3.2TB**** 2.6TB

Even Bigger Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 7700 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Medium (3 data modules) Full Rack
Total Storage 86.4TB 100TB
Total Available Protected Storage 62.5TB (RAID6) 50TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 34.4TB Uncompressed 28TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $4.7M** $9.3M***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
OLAP, Data Mining, Text Mining Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $370,000 / year
PCIe Solid State Flash Memory 3.2TB**** 5.3TB
Additional PCIe Solid State Devices Optional NOT AVAILABLE


* Total “User Space” assumes 45% overhead for logs, temporary space, indexes, and so on.

** IBM prices include the appropriate edition of InfoSphere Warehouse. They also include 1 year of maintenance and support for all hardware and software.

*** Oracle prices includes Oracle Database, RAC, Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Tuning, Diagnostics, and Provisioning packs. They also include 1 year of maintenance and support for all hardware and software. Oracle prices are of 18 October 2010 on http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/exadata-pricelist-070598.pdf and http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/technology-price-list-070617.pdf.

**** PCIe Solid State Flash size excludes flash storage located in failover module.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 19, 2010 at 12:04 am

Integrated Systems mean Easier Deployment and Faster Performance

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If you attended the 2009 IBM Information on Demand conference, you may have seen the following video. It focuses on how two IBM clients benefit from workload-optimized solutions from IBM. A workload-optimized solution is essentially a single system where all components (hardware, database software, reporting software, analytics software, etc.) come pre-configured and pre-integrated for optimized operation. IBM offers pre-configured and pre-integrated solutions for both OLTP and OLAP environments, with DB2 pureScale and IBM Smart Analytics System respectively.

Because these integrated systems come pre-configured for optimal performance, you don’t have to worry about integrating, balancing, and tuning the systems during deployment. This saves a lot of time, and ensures a faster time to value for the new system. Farmers Insurance estimate that they saved months of deployment time. Rooms To Go went from nothing to an entire system (extracting, transforming, loading, warehousing, and analyzing data) with dashboards in just two months.

Another benefit of these systems is improved performance. IBM tests and certifies the integrations, ensuring they are configured for optimal operation. IBM also uses established best practices to pre-tune the systems. When Farmers Insurance put their system in place, they immediately saw performance gains of 42%.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

December 21, 2009 at 11:00 am

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