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Appliances - Just Add Data


Appliances - Just Add Data

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Appliances - Just Add Data

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Toby Harman
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I'm generally in favour of this idea, especially for the small to mid size businesses that don't necessarily need a full time dba or systems admin. And yes, you will always end up paying for support.

However, once you reach a certain scale, i think you are better served having a dedicated in-house resource to tune your servers.

As an example, I worked for an emerging telco until 2001. EMC took the IT director out for lunch and persuaded him to allow them to "trial" a Symmetrix with us. We had reviewed EMCs hardware and ruled them out for a couple of reasons, most notably that the actual disks and SCSI arrays internally were only SCSI rather than Ultra-Wide SCSI2, and we had horrendous throughput requirements.

To cut a long story short, we stress-tested the EMC with our application profile and succeeded in flooding the cache, which resulted in massively slower throughput. EMC were politely asked to come and remove their box.

The moral of this tedious story is that the vendor may not always understand your application profile as well as you do, and once you get to a sufficient size that you can have the expertise in-house, it generally pays to do so.

Where I see this kind of application device winning is in the medium sized (10-50 staff), non-IT based companies that have no requirement for a dedicated system admin or DBA. Software providers could offer a standard server build which they think is appropriate for their application.
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My reply is an unqualified "Yes."
Carl Kepford
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The biggest drawback is that appliances will not match other servers that are monitored and serviced by a vendor that you have established a trust with. I'm a big believer in finding one of the big three server vendors: HP, IBM, or Dell and sticking with them for support, monitoring software, etc. Even better if the SAN is the same provider as the servers. You may lose some performance per dollar spent, but you will have much better control over your environment.



jay-h
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There will always be a need for both approaches.

Appliances work best where there is a very standardized constellation of requirements across different businesses. But there will always be plenty of specialized requirements ill served by appliances.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
SQLRNNR
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There's a place for these devices and I think they could be highly useful - despite the cost.



Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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Tobar
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I think it is marketing gone amok. In the world of the consumer an appliance is a single task item. Either it cools food, it freezes food, it cooks food, or it makes toast, etc. Now there are multi-function appliances such as stereos, calculators and the like but I think they are an insignificant entity of what IT thinks of when we say "appliance". As long as you are paying for support anyway, might as well get the system you need and pay for remote DBA work. At least then when your needs shift you don't have to buy a new "appliance".

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Dave Poole
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I wrote up my thoughts on MPP appliances earlier this year http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/MPP/70845/.

They are not a marketing hype thing. Green plum has been bought by EMC, Neteeza has been bought by IBM, Microsoft bought Datallegro. The big guys are getting involved.

One massive advantage these appliances have is that they are a self contained unit. The data warehouse does not have to fight for shared IT resource other than the budget to buy the thing. There is absolute clarity as to how much space is available and the lines of responsibility for it.

One thing that is interesting is that Clustrix have released an appliance targetted at the OLTP world. http://www.clustrix.com/products/our-technology/

This could be a evolutionary dead end or a genesis product.

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