"We're seeing customers starting to graduate to the need for high-performance data warehousing and data analytics," says Phil Francisco, Netezza's vice president, product management and product marketing. "They are looking at vendors like Oracle and Teradata, and they are not finding solutions that they can afford."
Competition will intensify later this year when Microsoft releases planned data warehouse appliances based on DATAllegro technology acquired in 2008. But Netezza isn't exactly taking Microsoft and Oracle head on. Rather, it's focusing on application-specific offerings from partners as well as data-mart and development needs.
Like any data warehouse appliance, Skimmer delivers preconfigured hardware and software that's ready to run. The hardware is based on Netezza's TwinFin architecture, which combines proprietary database accelerator cards with commodity blade servers and storage. Shared architecture and software ensure that queries developed and tested on Skimmer will deliver predictable performance on Netezza's larger TwinFin appliances, which scale into the petabytes. What's more, Skimmers can be used for data marts tethered to larger Netezza environments.
The true calling for Skimmer, and what may set it apart, is the potential for partner-developed applications. Kalido, for example, has already announced Kalido Kona Information Appliances to be built on Skimmer. With initial versions planned specifically for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, Kona appliances will preconfigure data integration, data modeling and master data management software on Netezza's new appliance.