Netezza Review

Speed, updated ETL, revamped scheduler, mean we refresh data multiple times per day


What is our primary use case?

For now, we use that as our enterprise-wide data warehouse. Performance-wise, it's been great. The speed has been excellent. We haven't really had any hardware issues with it that I'm aware of. We've had it for heavy-use in the past six months to a year. It's been good.

How has it helped my organization?

The big benefit that we've had is, in the past with the legacy data warehouse solution, we've been limited to having just a nightly batch, running on SQL Server. It's a slower batch process, so throughout the day we would be limited to stuff that happened as of some time in the evening. 

So the benefit is really because of the additional speed that we have and, truth be told, the more updated ETL processes and the revamped scheduler in general. We've been able to move the refresh timing up to six times a day, so at any given point in the day, the data would be only four hours old, which helps us give much better - not quite real-time data - but closer to real-time data for the day, which helps the decision-makers get the most up-to-date information possible.

What is most valuable?

The speed.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would say it's very stable. Whenever we have any sort of outage, the hardware team always communicates it, and it's been months since we've had any sort of outage, outside of the standard maintenance window. There have never really been any issues there. Stability has been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For scalability, we're still in process - half the business is still not on this data warehouse, the company is also moving over to a different production system - so the scalability, we'll really see throughout this year, as the rest of the business gets migrated over to that new production system, and that data will be falling into the Netezza data warehouse platform. So for scalability, it's a little too soon to really give an answer yet.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not used tech support. I'm not on the hardware team.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Our IT leadership made the decision to go with Netezza before I joined the company, that decision had already been made. Prior to that we were using Microsoft SQL Server.

The only thing that I was really privy to was, Netezza was chosen because of its analytical capabilities and for the ability to process through a very high volume of records and give an aggregate solution from an analysis standpoint, in a very quick fashion.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved on the hardware side, but I was on the data modeling aspect.

I would say it was straightforward. We used the IBM InfoSphere for the ETL scripts. Those seem to give plenty of visibility for allthe different steps in the ETL process, especially debugging or going in and making modifications as different tickets come through.

Working with some of the other developers, whenever they are given a ticket, it's pretty simple to see what step in the process and additional code needs to be added, or modified, or removed; to see exactly where it is and how it's going to affect things downstream, and to be able to see at what exact point that something has failed. That part, it's been more straightforward and just the visibility of the whole process.

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor for a data warehouse solution are, obviously, the speed and the ability to handle large amounts of data. That's especially true from an analysis standpoint, and having it not only do the math and select statements but also do more aggregation and analysis-type queries.

The speed has been excellent for us, in pulling information, as well as the batch timing, and the suite of tools that comes with it for the ETL withIBM InfoSphere. Also, the data governance prospect, as a company we haven't really delved too far into that, but from what I've seen, that is a really powerful tool as well, to help with data lineage and keeping track of that. So the speed is good and the suite of tools seems to be very beneficial.

From my standpoint, I would give it a nine out of 10. It has done everything that we needed it to do, it's great. The only reason I wouldn't give it a 10 is because, early on, there were a couple of maintenance things that we had to do.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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