Do we need specialized technology for the large scale analysis of data? I read a report (registration required) that talks about the need for specialized technologies to handle the needs and requirements of complex data analysis. As often is the case, this report is written by someone that isn’t very technical, and is likely using information put out by the companies who are building these specialized technologies. However that doesn’t change the fact that the premise if valid.
Just recently the Parallel Data Warehouse edition of SQL Server was released, providing a specialized, and extremely powerful platform for large scale data warehouses. The release of Powerpivot as well as all the BI enhancements added to SQL Server 2008 R2 mean that you have a diverse platform that isn’t just built as a “transaction stack” processor.
As technical people should we care if about articles like this? Absolutely we should, since these articles often influence executives who are the ones that might end up signing a purchase order for some other technology. If management is going to be spending more of the technology budget in your area, don’t you want to try and influence them to spend the money wisely? That means you ought to understand what is being written and be able to intelligently talk about the choices.
SQL Server isn’t necessarily the best solution for all environments, and it’s not necessarily even the platform on which you want to build your BI system. However SQL Server has an amazing array of capabilities, and it is a product you should consider.