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Q&A with Claudia Imhoff on Data Management Appliances


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Hello this is Tamara Graves of Dataupia and it is my pleasure to spend a few minutes talking with Claudia Imhoff about her research on Data Management Appliances.


Q. Can you please share with us your definition of a data warehouse appliance?
A. Well, sure. Fortunately, I have been able to work with Colin White on this along with Dick Hackathorn to develop a comprehensive definition. It is basically four "ones." I am going to focus on three of them. The first of them is that there is "one purpose" for an appliance. It is pre-configured for that purpose. For example it is pre-configured to do analytics or to store data or whatever the purpose is, it has that single purpose. And the second one is, and this is the one that I like the most, there is only "one vendor" to call. As I mentioned it is this pre-configured package and you don't have to worry about calling multiple vendors. You call one single vendor because they are responsible for the entire package. Again, we would like to see "one installation, you don't have to put together a bunch of moving parts. It is not like putting together a bicycle for your kid at Christmas. Everything has been put together, preconfigured as I said. And it all comes in a single package. That is kind of a high-level overview of what is an appliance.
Q. What would you say is the most common question you are asked about data warehouse appliances?
A. There are two. The first one is do I have to replace what I already have? Is this a rip and replace kind of situation? In other words, does the appliance come in and replace all that I already have in place? And I think that is a pretty common question. And the answer is of course, no you don't. What is nice is that these appliances can replace what you have but they are also very complimentary to your existing environment. The answer is really up to you. What is it that you want the appliance to do? And no you don't have to throw everything out and start all over again.

The other question that I get asked is: There are so many data warehouse appliances, how do I differentiate them? And why are there so many? I think the answer to that is that data warehouse appliances make sense. They are very appealing to all organizations that don't want to have to put together the little pieces. So, they are getting a lot of traction. If you go back to the original appliance, like a toaster, it was very popular. It toasts bread. It did what it was supposed to do and it did it well. But over the years, we have added on to it. So many gadgets and gizmos have been added on to the toaster. Like the toaster over. I think that is why we are now starting to see a lot of data warehouse appliances that do more than just store or analyze data. They are starting to expand much like the toaster did. So, I guess those are the questions that I am asked most often.

Very good! Thank you so much for sharing just a few of your insights on data management appliances. In order to get all of the details, please be sure to download the whitepaper in its entirety here.