The dawn of polyglot analytics

While there has been a significant amount of interest in the volume, velocity of variety of big data (and perhaps a few other Vs depending on who you speak to), it has been increasingly clear to that the trends driving new approaches to data management relate not just to the nature of the data itself, but how the user wants to interact with the data.

As we previously noted, if you turn your attention to the value of the data then you have to take into account the trend towards storing and processing all data (or at least as much as is economically feasible), and the preferred rate of query (the acceptable time taken to generate the result of a query, as well as the time between queries). Another factor to be added to the mix is the way in which the user chooses to analyze the data: are they focused on creating a data model and schema to answer pre-defined queries, or engaging in exploratory analytic approaches in which data is extracted and the schema defined in response to the nature of the query?

All of these factors have significant implications for which technology is chosen to store and analyze the data, and another user-driven factor is the increased desire to use specialist data management technologies depending on the specific requirement. As we noted in NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond, in the operational database world this approach has become known as polyglot persistence. Clearly though, in the analytic database market we are talking not just about approaches to storing the data, but also analyzing it. That is why we have begun using the term ‘polyglot analytics’ to describe the adoption of multiple query-processing technologies depending on the nature of the query.

Polyglot analytics explains why we are seeing adoption of Hadoop and MapReduce as a complement to existing data warehousing deployments. It explains, for example, why a company like LinkedIn might adopt Hadoop for its People You May Know feature while retaining its investment in Aster Data for other analytic use cases. Polyglot analytics also explains why a company like eBay would retain its Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse for storing and analyzing traditional transactional and customer data, as well as adopting Hadoop for storing and analyzing clickstream, user behaviour and other un/semi-structured data, while also adopting an exploratory analytic platform based on Teradata’s Extreme Data Appliance for extreme analytics on a combination of transaction and user behaviour data pulled from both its EDW and Hadoop deployments.

The emergence of this kind of exploratory analytic platform exemplifies the polyglot analytics approach to adopting a different platform based the user’s approach to analytics rather than the nature of the data. It also highlights some of the thinking behind Teradata’s acquisition of Aster Data, IBM’s acquisition of Netezza, as well as HP’s acquisition of Vertica and the potential future role of vendors such as ParAccel and Infobright.

We are about to embark on a major survey of data management users to assess their attitudes to polyglot analytics and the drivers for adopting specific data management/analytics technologies. The results will be delivered as part of our Total Data report later this year. Stay tuned for more details on the survey in the coming weeks.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Susan Davis on 09.08.11 at 2:01 pm

Good post Matt! It is clear that when it comes to data management, the days of one-size-fits-all are over. At Infobright, we are also seeing more customers using our analytic database in conjunction with tools like Hadoop or MongoDB. Now, as for the term “polyglot analytics”? Hmmm…