VMware Tanzu Greenplum Review

Powerful external data integration and parallel load capabilities, with good technical support

What is our primary use case?

Greenplum is a distributed database that we used for data warehousing.

What is most valuable?

The parallel load features mean that Greenplum is capable of high-volume data loading in parallel to all of the cluster segments, which is really valuable.

The service management capabilities are good.

The external data integration with Parquet, Avro, CSV, and unstructured JSON works well.

It has an advanced query optimizer.

What needs improvement?

The initial setup is somewhat complex and the out-of-the-box configuration requires optimization.

- OS settings need to be tuned according to the Install guide.

- Only group/spread mirroring by gpinistsystem, block mirroring is manual (Best Practices Guide)

- Db maintenance scripts are not supplied - some of them added in cloud - need to be implemented based on the Admin Guide.

- Comes with two query optimizers, PQO is default, some queries perform better with the legacy planner, it needs to be set.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with Greenplum for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Greenplum is pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is absolutely scalable. We have more than 400 users in our database.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is exquisite.

This is a company that really listens to its customers. I am very happy with our relationship.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before I joined this company, I used different data warehousing solutions.

Making the transition to Greenplum requires a completely different mindset because it is massively parallel. It's more like a Big Data mindset, where you need to consider that you are distributing data between cluster nodes. It is not always straightforward to make the switch.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is kind of complex. You need an expert to set up a Greenplum cluster.

It may not be possible to simplify the initial setup because there's an out of the box configuration and you can use it. I've actually seen companies using it for years and it works, but it didn't work optimally so they were not happy with the results.

You can set up Greenplum but you really need to read the manual and the installation guide. I've seen people skipping it and then complaining.

What about the implementation team?

A few people are enough to maintain this product. If you want to have around the clock support then you will need a couple of people in different time zones, but generally, maintenance is straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

We are currently in the process of upgrading from version 5.26 to 6.11 and I can already see a lot of improvements. I can't wait to try them. According to the roadmap, there are a lot of new improvements coming in the V7 version, which is due out next year.

My advice for anybody who is implementing Greenplum is that they really need an expert to assist them. They might hire consultants or grow experts in-house, although that takes time and it is not always straightforward. You can use Greenplum out of the box but to really leverage all of the capabilities, you definitely need to tune your system and also design your database objects.

When people think about a database they usually think about Oracle, Mircosoft SQL, or maybe MySQL. Greenplum is a distributed database that needs a completely different mindset. I think that when people start to use it, they don't really understand. For example, you cannot switch from Oracle to Hadoop because you will need the same change, but when they switch to Greenplum from Oracle, or just put data from Oracle to Greenplum, they don't consider this change as seriously as they would for Hadoop.

Overall, I am very happy with this product.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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