HP, Sybase team to offer DIY BI blueprint

Hewlett-Packard and Sybase release a blueprint for quickly building a business intelligence system

Hoping to undercut the prices of business intelligence (BI) appliances offered by other vendors, Sybase and Hewlett-Packard have posted a reference architecture for building a BI system that could cost significantly less than most pre-packaged BI appliances, the companies claim.

"We see customers are struggling with implementing [BI] solutions," said Dan Lahl, Sybase's senior director of product marketing. As a result, pre-packaged BI appliances, such as those offered by Netezza, Oracle and Teradata, have generated interest in the market.

While assembling a BI system by using this reference architecture would require more work than configuring a pre-packaged appliance, the user could save money as well, Lahl said.

The reference architecture, developed and tested by HP and Sybase engineers, consists of Sybase's BI software, Sybase IQ version 15.1, along with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, HP ProLiant DL785 servers and HP StorageWorks storage arrays. "A customer can buy these pieces and they are guaranteed to work together," Lahl said.

The reference architecture supplies two configurations: A medium-size build, with 24 server cores and 14 terabytes of raw storage, and a large implementation, with 48 cores and 28 terabytes of storage. "These are targeted at companies that have some pretty big data issues," Lahl said.

While not directly comparing prices to BI appliances, Lahl did estimate that the medium-size configuration would cost about US$2.7 million over three years and the large configuration would run about $4.3 million, not including the cost of assembly. Set-up could still be done within a day in most cases.

Lahl estimated that similar configurations in the appliance form from other vendors could cost almost twice as much.

"We wanted a configuration not only to get a high throughput of queries-per-second, but do it at a reasonable price," he said. Plus, the reference architecture offers more flexibility than appliances, because the user can add or remove servers or storage should thew need arise, Lahl said.

Sybase executives announced this architecture at the company's annual TechWave user conference, being held this week in Washington D.C. At the event, the company also announced that it has updated its Sybase Replication Server database synchronization software. Among other new features, this new version, version 15.5, can replicate instances of the Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise-based databases into an all in-memory environment.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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