Interesting news yesterday about EMC's acquisition of data warehouse appliance company GreenPlum.  GreenPlum had of course partnered heavily with Sun Microsystems which was recently acquired by database giant Oracle.  GreenPlum has some interesting customers including eBay, NYSE Euronext, and NASDAQ OMX Group.  GreenPlum plays in the same space as veterans Teradata and Oracle and upcomers like Aster Data, Kognitio, ParAccel, InfoBright, Vertica, etc.  This is a very interesting space which saw Microsoft acquire DataAllegro and coming out with SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Edition as well as SAP's pending acquisition of Sybase.  SAP is also working on their own in-memory column-oriented technology and their upcoming HANA appliance.  As the volume of data continues to grow exponentially, the ability to store and analyze large amounts of data continues to be a challenge for every enterprise and so we will continue to see more action in this space.  As the databases scale to be larger and larger, one question that always comes up is how do we access and analyze all of this data.  The SQL query language accessed via ODBC and JDBC drivers continues to be the language of choice in the database world.  The MDX query language accessed via ODBO and XMLA is now the de-facto language of choice for analytics.

I was recently asked who supports MDX and the answer is, everyone.  The major database players – Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and SAP all support MDX query language.  The major BI players – SAP/Business Objects, Microsoft, Oracle/Hyperion, and IBM/Cognos all support the MDX language.  Microsoft Excel is on virtually every desktop in the enterprise and if you look at Microsoft's recently released Excel 2010, the BI capabilities in Pivot Tables has been extended with the addition of sparklines, slicers, and even write-back.  Excel Pivot Tables talks to analytic databases using the MDX query language.  SQL and MDX are both necessary for analytics today.