When we’re in a technical conversation about Business Intelligence (BI), the question about “which database do you use for BI” invariably comes up. Whatever the database name is, chances are that the type of database will be described as “columnar“. If you’re a frequent reader of this site, you may know that columnar and “NoSQL” databases are kissing cousins, and that we’re big fans of the Cassandra NoSQL database in these parts (though we advocate some tweaks).
We’re confident in our positions, but every once in a while its good to hear that we’re not just bleeding edge iconoclasts. Today, Microsoft provided that reassurance when it announced its “Apollo” initiative to the masses.
In a Gavin Clarke interview published in The Register, Quentin Clark, general manager of the Microsoft SQL Server Database Systems Group, talks about, “new columnar technology called Apollo,” which Clark claimed could boost certain queries by between 10 and 50 times.
Other people were also struck by the new Apollo technology during a keynote Microsoft provided during the PASS Summit on Nov 9. Here’s one blogger reacting:
” This is a great demo. We’re seeing a trillion rows per minute, filtered & reported on. It’s very slick. This is good. Same technology is also in the database engine. We’re seeing fantastic performance. I might be out of a job. It’s based on the columnar data store technology. It’s a very good thing.”
If you want to see the demo yourself, pull up this page in IE (you need Windows Media Player) and fast forward to about this point.
Though additional details on Apollo are sketchy so far, chances are that the fog will be lifted when the latest preview of Denali (the code name for the next version of SQL Server) is sent to subscribers on MSDN and TechNet, as Microsoft is promising near-parity of its on-premises and cloud-based SQL Server offerings.
Not lost on DivConq is the fact that by providing this level of parity between on-premises and cloud-based offerings Microsoft is giving its customers the ability to choose and later change their deployment models. In other words, Microsoft is making cloud escrow a reality. Who said they were evil?