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Why Yellowbrick is the Ideal Alternative to Netezza

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At Smart Associates we have traditionally written blogs about Netezza with the aim of keeping our customers informed of developments, of which there have been many in the past few years. In more recent times the Netezza user base has seen a lot of disruption, first when IBM discontinued Netezza altogether in 2019, leaving them to look frantically for alternative solutions. Then when Netezza was relaunched as part of the much larger, more complex, and convoluted technical architecture that is IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data. There are two events that we have reported on of late, however, that really underline how IBM has left Netezza users with stark choices. The first was its launch of Netezza Performance Server as a Service late last year which seems to have achieved little more than a tick in the “we also have a cloud service” box given that it is still only available on Microsoft Azure, and it is prohibitively pricey. Hopefully you weren’t trampled in the rush to take up that service.

Then in April of this year the Netezza Performance Server user base was given the ability to disable large chunks of Cloud Pak for Data with the release of CP4D, aka Hammerhead. Released to a fanfare by IBM in the guise of progress, this downgrade may have come as a relief to companies tiring of endless upgrades to the multiple software layers inherent in Cloud Pak for Data, but where does it leave them now? This version of Netezza is a dead-end and they will be treading water waiting for an alternative upgrade path whilst IBM continues developing Netezza on CP4DS on its OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) version 4 and Red Hat version 8 and beyond. If I were treading water with a Hammerhead, I’d be a bit worried about when that beast will turn round to bite me.

So where does Yellowbrick come into this discussion? Since its inception, Yellowbrick has always been a very solid alternative to Netezza. Remaining loyal to our IBM roots, though, we’ve provided many customers with afterlife support, and have built systems that provide workarounds for Netezza’s shortcomings. We’ve developed an alternative to IBM’s clumsy Netezza Replication Services with our SmartSafe product, and customers can mitigate the omissions of the Netezza platform with Smart Management Frameworks modules that perform Active Directory Synchronization and automate various database administration tasks. In 25 years of supporting Netezza customers, we have regularly been asked about alternatives and on several occasions have assisted with migrations to other platforms. All the while, though, we’ve supported IBM’s vision of Netezza being an integral part of their Cloud Data Platform, whilst waiting patiently to see if Netezza would be re-engineered rather than merely stuffed into a container and polished up to look like a new system. Unfortunately, however, we regularly hear of customer experiences of poor performance resulting from the processing overhead of CP4D’s many state-of-the art layers (that nobody seems to want), and the frequent upgrades required to keep their system under IBM support. With the admission by IBM that most Netezza customers don’t want CP4D, hence the emasculated version, we now find ourselves looking at how we can now best support our customers with an alternative to Netezza that continues to provide the benefits that they have enjoyed so abundantly in the past.

Choice Ahead

With these things in mind, this is the first of a series of blogs where we will do an honest comparison between Netezza and Yellowbrick so that our current and prospective customers can be better informed as to whether to hold out for a genuine IBM alternative to Netezza, or to switch to Yellowbrick which, in our experience, has become Netezza’s natural successor. In the next blog we’ll explore their similarities, and we’ll follow it up with a blog that describes their differences and what we would recommend moving forward.

If you'd like to find out more about our relationship with Yellowbrick check out our website.

Or, if you'd just like to get in touch to discuss Yellowbrick, or anything else, contact us here.

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