An Innocent Abroad
Monday I flew into South Africa for the first time, just a month too early to watch the footy. That was bad planning, but the reason I’m here was to launch the partnership with BITanium – our new partner in the region. The launch was this morning at a very grand hotel on the outskirts of Johannesburg, I was a bit nervous – this was my Netezza debut in front of customers, but i shouldn’t have bothered. After Calvin Low of Edcon presented there wasn’t much more that needed saying.
Edcon are our first customer in South Africa - a major retailing force in the area - who had taken our ‘Test Drive’ challenge and went straight ahead with their first project. And the numbers he shared with the audience were great. They did a really thorough job on the Test Drive proof of concept (POC); they set us up against the latest version of their existing warehouse and threw a whole spectrum of their existing queries at it. The worst performing query ran for 48 hours on the incumbent kit, then fell over. On the Netezza box it ran to completion in 20 minutes. Another query that had taken 5hrs+ ran in less than 3 minute on Netezza.
It was funny watching the body language of some of the audience who had done the ‘raise eyebrow, lean back in chair, fold arms, cross legs’ response when Chris O’Connell of BITanium had put up the old ’10 to 100 times faster’ slide. When Calvin had finished with them they were doing the ’lean forward , elbows on table, chin on fist, stare intently’ posture.
My personal triumph of the day was answering a serious techie question on solid state media to the satisfaction of the Netezza SE & Tech Account Manager who were in the audience (presumably both doing the ‘bite fingernails, clench buttocks’ response when I launched into my answer).
Now it’s late after dinner at a Greek restaurant, discussing how conventional warehouse designs get so convoluted over time as they are tuned and tuned to keep up with new demands and increasing data volumes. The debate was about whether you should clean up the schema before move it on Netezza or whether you should just lift & shift, let the Netezza box solve your performance problem and clean up at your leisure. In fact we know from experience that clean up often doesn’t happen, it becomes less of an issue when the knotty performance problems that led to the design complexity just go away.
By the way it was Greek because of the vegetarian-friendly menu for one lacto and one pescatarian (me) in the party. You get some funny looks from the average South African confronted with a vegetarian Meze for his starter