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Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse Hits Metal This Month

Release on HP hardware marks integration of technology from DATAllegro acquisition into the flagship Microsoft database technology family.

The Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 will soon see the light of day. It will appear on hardware from Hewlett-Packard Co. this month.

The new HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance will be available sometime in mid-December, Microsoft announced at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit event, which was held last month in Seattle. The product will use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 PDW Edition solution, formerly known by its "Madison" code name.

Madison is Redmond's reworking of the DATAllegro massive parallel processing product that Microsoft acquired nearly two years ago. It represents the last of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 editions to become a full-fledged product. The delay in release may reflect Microsoft's caution with a complex product.

"There is more to PDW than just a release of [SQL Server] 2008 R2 on hardware," said Wes Miller, a Directions on Microsoft analyst, in an e-mail from the PASS event. "Tuning and changes within SQL -- to partition the data -- are there as well."

On top of the HP product build, Microsoft is working with other possible hardware partners. Bull SAS was the second possible hardware vendor mentioned.

Microsoft is somewhat late to the competition with its massive parallel processing technology in PDW, notes James Kobielus, a senior analyst with Forrester Research Inc. He says that such technologies have already been deployed in products from companies such as Greenplum and Netezza Corp. Those companies, in turn, have been scooped up by bigger players. EMC Corp. announced the acquisition of Greenplum in July, while IBM Corp. indicated in September that it's acquiring Netezza.

"Microsoft is playing catch up," Kobielus says. "What they've rolled out now with parallel data warehousing is a bit late to the game, and they know it."

Microsoft has had clustering capabilities in SQL Server for a while, he explains, but the scalability part was lacking, and that's what the DATAllegro technology brings.

Scalability in PDW means handling tens of terabytes of data and then moving to hundreds of terabytes worth, according to Microsoft.

The price per terabyte will start at $13,228 (including estimated hardware cost), according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.