SQL Server 2012 PDW extends big data capability

Better management capability of structured and unstructured data along with one of the lowest price per terabyte in the big data space are the key benefits enterprise customers stand to get from SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse, according to Microsoft Corp.

It’s the latest version of the company’s massively parallel processing (MPP) data warehouse appliance.

This iteration of PDW, according to Eduard Davidzhan, SQL product marketing manager for Microsoft Canada, integrates PolyBase technology. PolyBase enables the use of T-SQL code to simultaneously query structured data contained in SQL 2012 and the unstructured data contained in Hadoop, the open-source software framework that supports data intensive distributed applications. Microsoft claims that SQL 2012 PDW will provide performance gains of up to 100 times over legacy warehouses.

“Big data is a hot topic these days but IT and business departments see it through different lenses,” said Davidzhan. “IT sees big data as a data warehouse issue, while business guys see it as an issue about managing things like social media and external data.”

Indeed, according to analyst firm IDC Canada, local firms appear to be hesitant in adopting big data technologies.

“Overall, our 2012 survey big data adoption is Canada is relatively low compared to how much organizations are aware of its benefits,” according to David Senf, VP of IDC Canada’s infrastructure solutions group.

For instance, IDC found that 96 per cent of Canadian companies say the ability to act rapidly on data is critical, but only 46 per cent of firms have actually invested in big data technologies. Senf, however said, this is not to say that Canadian firms are technology laggards.

“I think it is just typical of the pattern wherein companies in Canada tend to adopt technologies after they’ve seen results with larger firms south of the border,” he said. For example, today we find that a large number of Canadian organizations want to get started using Hadoop.”

As much as 73 per cent of companies that figured in a 2012 survey of 500 Canadian business by IT research firm IT Market Dynamics, had no big data strategy because they found complexity of vast volumes of structured and unstructured data such as text, video, audio, analog signals and Web documents daunting, according to Davidzhan.


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SQL Server 2012 PDW comes with pre-configured with database and data management software and hardware from Dell and HP that simplifies and speeds up the handling of data, he said. The appliance’s MPP architecture distributes computing and supports parallel operations allowing for extremely high speed exchange of results.

“In MPP, you execute your query on every SQL node in parallel, so it works very fast,” said Davidzhan.

In a Microsoft commissioned research carried out by Value Prism Consulting, the third party tester found that SQL 2012 PDW offered the lowest price per terabyte cost among competing products. The test compered SQL 2012 PDW to comparable products from EMC, IBM, Oracle and Teradata.

The costs per TB of user-available compressed storage for the products were:

  • EMC: $13,889 for 144 TB
  • IBM: $12,492 for 128 TB
  • Oracle: $30,178 for 450 TB
  • Teradata: $8,000 for 146 TB
  • Microsoft: $4,618 for 340 TB


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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