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Database Virtualization = Location Transparency. Old Wine in a New Bottle?

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When I think about “database virtualization” as

the use of multiple instances of a DBMS, or different DBMS platforms, simultaneously and in a transparent fashion regardless of their physical location


with the goal of providing “data virtualization“,

to view data from disparate sources without knowing or caring where the data actually resides.

this reminds me of location transaprency (ref: Jim Gray and Andreas Reuter)

The databse must insulate the application from the location of the data and the exact representation of the data

The real issue is that there is a lot of hype surrounding virtualization today and database virtualization, at least in the prevalent use of the term, is attempting to shoe horn itself into this space in order to leverage the hype cycle and stock valuations associated with this market segment.

xkoto has built a SQL mediation layer above commodity DBMS’ for the mid-market and IBM has been licensing their technology as a load balancer since 2006. Oracle’s acquisition of TangoSol, Microsoft’s Project Velocity are following HP NeoView’s usage of distributed caches for solving large BI queries. Strictly speaking these are not virtualization technology related innovations – they are simply replacing shared memory clustering with distributed, shared-nothing caches that provide location transparency for data. Tandem was doing this all along from the early 80’s through the mid 90’s. Seems to be old wine in a new bottle – the vintage may still be good, but let us acknowledge it for what it is.

The positioning and messaging innovation in recasting location transparency as “databse virtualization” is an incremental one. What groundbreaking technoloigy innovations can we expect in database virtualization that truly differentiates it and helps startups unveil new disruptive business models?

You may well ask, “Ok Paul, what’s your beef? We are solving real world business problems for our customers”. Your point is well taken, ultimately it is indeed about the customer. If they can map your solution as meeting the technical requirements to be fulfilled for solving their business problem, the marketing labels are a moot point. My concern is about whether the positioning obfuscates instead of providing that sort of clarity to customers.

Written by paule1s

February 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

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