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Examining the IBM PureData System for Analytics appliance

Powered by Netezza technology, the IBM PureData System for Analytics data warehouse appliance enables users to execute complex queries and get results quickly.

The IBM PureData System for Analytics data warehouse appliance delivers standards-based data warehouse and analytics capabilities. The appliance integrates a database management system, server, storage and advanced analytics capabilities into a single system. The current version is PureData System for Analytics N3001.

IBM PDA is used across a wide range of industries, from banking and financial services to transportation and shipping. With several N3001 models available, organizations of all sizes can use the analytics capability of the PDA system. Any industry or business that wants to execute a range of queries -- especially medium and complex -- and needs to get results to these queries quickly will benefit from the PDA system. In addition, the product's simplicity and minimal administration requirements are well-suited for organizations that need an analytics data warehouse and don't have a large staff dedicated to administration of their IT environment.

IBM PureData System for Analytics features

IBM PDA is delivered as a complete, secure, purpose-built appliance for data warehousing. The plug-and-play PDA integrates database, server and storage as a pre-tuned appliance and requires minimal ongoing maintenance. It doesn't use indexes, further simplifying configuration and implementation as compared with most traditional data warehouses.

PDA is designed for high-performance analytics. The architecture of the appliance utilizes Snippet Processing Units by Netezza. SPUs are intelligent storage nodes engineered for fast performance that can process large volumes of data by executing queries in parallel using multiple field programmable gate arrays across data slices. The PureData System for Analytics N3001 provides in-database analytic functions and the ability for clients to write their own customized functions through user-defined extensions. This allows analytic processing to be pushed down into the database layer, providing faster results for complex queries.

The N3001 appliance family includes on-disk encryption at no additional cost.

For IBM mainframe customers, IBM offers the DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA), which is a customized version of PDA. IDAA integrates with DB2 for z/OS to seamlessly deliver high-speed, low-latency analytical capabilities to IBM mainframe data warehouses.

The underlying operating system within IBM PDA is Linux running on Intel hardware -- selected by IBM. The client can't change the hardware or software components of the PDA.

IBM PDA licensing, pricing and support

The N3001 appliances are sold by IBM Analytics sellers and IBM business partners.

The PureData System for Analytics is licensed as an overall appliance. The N3001 systems are available in eighth-rack N3001-001 (Mini-Mako); quarter-rack N3001-002; half-rack N3001-005; and full-rack configurations of one, two, four or eight racks (N3001-010, N3001-020, N3001-040 and N3001-080 models). 

All software is included in the PDA system, so no additional licensing is required. For clients desiring a test or development environment (nonproduction use), a software-only license is also available that enables the PDA system software to be run on Intel Linux platforms.

For clients that want to buy larger systems in anticipation of growth, there's a Growth on Demand (GoD) licensing option. With GoD, customers receive double their initial system size (i.e., a full rack instead of half) with only half of the processing power enabled. They can then grow the system in 12.5% increments until the system is at full capacity.

List prices range from $170,000 to $18.5 million, depending on the model. Discounted pricing is available. Installation and 12-month warranty support are included, along with the components for normal operation and maintenance of the product. The only extra cost is a replication component if the client wants a disaster recovery configuration; this scenario would also require the client to purchase an additional PDA system for the DR site.

Since PDA is an appliance, there's no free trial. However, an on-site proof of concept period can be arranged through an IBM sales representative.

IBM PureData System for Analytics provides the standard annual maintenance and support contract that clients may be familiar with from other IBM products, based on a percentage of the purchase price. This allows the client to upgrade the system software free of charge as new releases become available.

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