A Netezza Customer Journey
Having worked with so many Netezza customers over the years we've developed a strong sense for the emotional stages that customers have gone through and are continuing to go through with the evolution of the Netezza platform. We thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the stages that we’ve observed in the hope that customers may gauge where they are currently at and where they might go next.
Although we’re talking about Netezza, some of these stages may be familiar to the customers that are not using Netezza and/or are ex-Netezza or non-Netezza customers. You may have perhaps tried migrating to Hadoop to Snowflake or Redshift or other technologies and found yourselves still somewhere on this journey with the need to look at alternatives and solutions to problems.
Stage 1 – Joy
In the early days of Netezza, customers were generally happy, full of joy even, the reason being that Netezza was a great product. It provided a compelling combination of price, performance, simplicity, and expert levels of support. Almost everybody was happy with it, and they may have wanted to continue in this joyful state if it weren't for what IBM did that led to the second stage of the journey.
Stage 2 - Despair
Most Netezza users despaired when IBM cancelled the Netezza product and they were faced with having to migrate to another platform, whether that be DB2 or something else. Customers who were previously perfectly content with the platform and could quite happily have carried on using it indefinitely were forced to actively look at alternatives. It really was quite difficult for them to find something that had the same degree of performance, simplicity, price and compatibility with Netezza that they needed to be able to do the migration.
Stage 3 - Frustration
This initial despair leads directly to the next step of the journey which is frustration; trying unsuccessfully to migrate to different platforms; the huge time and effort migrating to an alternative only to find that it is slower than the old platform; the new platform being more expensive, harder to administer and maintain; the huge effort converting ETL code and SQL for reporting and populating the data. These are all reasons for customers to be extremely frustrated, and there are many more.
Stage 4 - Fear
If you've already been through the previous stages of despair and frustration, you're now going to be fearful about what your choices are. How long do you have to switch to an alternative platform before your budget runs out or the product you’re using is no longer supported? You may have very complicated requirements and be dependent on specific Netezza functionality, like the INZA Analytics user defined functions, or the Geospatial Analytics, for example. If you’ve tried alternatives and they have failed, you’ll know you are on a burning platform that you must get off and you know that another platform needs to be able to do things that nobody else seems to be able to do well or for a price that you can afford. It’s not surprising in these circumstances that fear sets in.
Stage 5 - Relief
When customers who are faced with having to quickly find an alternative platform learn that they can buy more time by signing up to our Netezza End-of-Life Support Service, they immediately experience a sense of relief. Furthermore, when they learn that we can support both their hardware and their software for a very competitive price and that we offer many options that IBM never did, such as different SLAs, and significant discounts for smaller sized, or non-production, or multiple systems, the pressure that the customers were feeling evaporates.
They now have time to explore alternatives and to keep their system running quite happily until they are ready to move at the time of their choosing to the right platform. There is another aspect too that provides relief. Customers can undertake a proof of concept using their own data and queries on another platform such as Yellowbrick, who we are working with. This can be done in a relatively short time and if that proves to be the right solution, we can automate huge amounts of the migration effort, all whilst they continue to run their existing Netezza system. So, for example, we have tools that can lift-and-shift migrate the entire existing Netezza database schemas, users, groups and permissions settings to Yellowbrick. This can be done quickly and using our data reconciliation tools we can provide the customer with assurance and proof that the data has been migrated in its entirety without any loss of fidelity or corruption of values.
Stage 6 – Hope
Having bought more time to identify an alternative, this is where we believe Smart Associates, in combination with Yellowbrick, can help solve some of those dilemmas that the customers have been facing, and the pain they have been experiencing, converting their fear into hope.
Yellowbrick is designed from the ground up to be hybrid cloud, multi-cloud or on-premises, which means that you can have a future proof solution. This is regardless of whether you want to host your Netezza replacement on AWS, Azure or Google, or have dev/test environments in the cloud, or have a production environment on-prem, or have DR in the cloud, or any combination of these - any permutation is possible with Yellowbrick. It has cool features like built-in replication which enables you to synchronise multiple instances in different locations automatically and requires much less administration than Netezza Replication Services. Yellowbrick is Postgres based, like Netezza, so it's largely compatible and that makes the migration process much simpler. In fact, something that makes customers migrating from Netezza very happy is that they are getting something which is like what they had before but is so much better in many ways.
One such difference is scalability. You no longer must worry about forklift upgrades whenever you need more data capacity or computing performance. With Yellowbrick it's very easy to expand your existing footprint, whether that's physically on-premises, or virtually in the cloud. You can just dial in how much capacity you need. It’s that easy to provision which of course makes it very cost effective.
The other huge difference is pricing. Yellowbrick pricing is somewhat different to their competitors in that rather than reselling cloud infrastructure services and making margin on it, Yellowbrick licences its software at a flat price. If you are hosting your data warehouse in the cloud you will have to pay for the cloud infrastructure that's being utilised, but that's between you and your cloud service provider. Yellowbrick pricing is published on their website and so you don't have to lose sleep over whether the system is being overutilized or whether you’re going to blow your budget before the end of the financial year because users are running too many queries. Pricing is predictable, transparent, and fair.
Stage 7 – Back to Feeling Good
All these factors are reasons why exploring Yellowbrick and doing a proof of concept and a migration gives customers hope. So now, rather than being worried about how you’re going to migrate and what you’re going to migrate to, you can now focus on your own internal customer satisfaction - making users happy, giving them what they want moving forward, and solving business problems. And consequently, return to the joyful state that you experienced before.
This blog was based on the first of a 4-part series of webinars entitled "The Yellowbrick Road to Data Warehouse Modernization". You can hear a recording of this webinar here, and we would love you to join in the remaining 3 webinars, the next one being entitled "Value Drivers in Data Warehouse Selection" - for more information follow this link.
And, of course, if you'd like to discuss anything raised in this blog, feel free to contact us.