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Start-up Tickles MySQL into Making a Quantum Leap

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Start-up Tickles MySQL into Making a Quantum Leap

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A two-year-old start-up came out of the woodwork this week claiming to have turned MySQL – which, let’s face it, has its limits – into the best darn data warehouse in the world bar none and to have the price/performance benchmarks to prove it.

It has in hand TPC-H scores that break previous price/performance records, coming in at 70 cents per $/QphH in the 100GB category.

The name of this prodigy is, appropriately enough, Kickfire and what it’s done is develop what it calls a “revolutionary” SQL chip – “revolutionary” if for no other reason than there’s never been one before.

This chip (and you can’t call it a processor) does for SQL what Nvidia did for graphics, the company said, and offloads the SQL from the general-purpose CPU to rev performance.

It claims the patented dingus packs the wallop of tens of high-end CPUs.

Data is pulled from the memory to the co-processor unslowed by registers and caches and can be processed in parallel.

Kickfire’s packaged the thing up as a small form-factor Database Appliance and thrown in what it calls an “ultra-modern” database kernel replete with technologies like column store, compression, intelligent indexing and compressed in-memory execution.

Kickfire’s storage engine, like other MySQL storage engines, plugs into MySQL.

Said load-and-go appliance, which houses the newfangled chip and memory, connects to a standard Linux-base x86 box via a PCIe cable and since the company will be selling systems once it gets out of beta in mid-October Kickfire avoids any notions of having to open source anything.

It’s going to go after the low-end under-6TB data warehousing mass market up against Microsoft and Oracle.

Apparently 28% of MySQL’s paying customers are using the open source database for data warehousing and 22% of the eight million active installations that are using the free MySQL are trying to use it as a warehouse.

The mojo is also good for business intelligence, reporting and analysis and packaged the way it is saves the hardware build out, power requirements and space costs associated with data warehouses.

CEO and co-founder CEO Raj Cherabuddi claims, “Kickfire’s Data Appliance delivers the query performance of half a room of hardware in a double-height pizza box with the power requirements of a microwave oven.”

Kickfire is claiming 10x-100x improvement in complex query, reporting and analysis; fast parallel-stream data loading; and scalability from gigabytes to terabytes. It’s also promising no tuning necessary.

It’s going to try for direct and indirect channels, its business development guy Karl Van den Bergh said. Plans are still kinda vague and, of course, Sun owns MySQL now and sells commodity machines so…. But we get ahead of ourselves.

Kickfire doesn’t have pricing yet but it sounds like it might be around $20k and the benchmark has it down for a total systems price of $34,425 over three years using CentOS and two quad Xeons.

Kickfire, which reportedly started out calling itself C2 Appliance, is backed by Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and the Mayfield Fund in a first round it got a year-and-a-half ago. It’s looking for a second round.

The founders of Kickfire, Cherabuddi and CTO Joe Chamdani, have been down the start-up road before having previously done Sanera Systems, a SAN switch house they sold to McData, which in turn went to Brocade.

Once Kickfire masters the MySQL market it intends to turn its chip to other purposes.


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