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RIP Netezza: Killed by the Cloud

As I write this post I am reminded of the old adage “no body ever got fired for hiring IBM”. However, the technologies that were once popular are now proving to be impediments to enabling modern platforms, such as the cloud.   

Case in point is Netezza. 

As of June 30, 2019, Netezza is no longer supported by IBM. This was rumored for a while and vehemently denied by IBM. Twenty years ago, when IBM first purchased Netezza famously for $1.7B, Netezza was considered a premium state-of-the-art database appliance with world-beating performance for large business critical databases. In fact, most say that Netezza ‘wrote the book on’ field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) technology, which helped it support impressive performance for enterprise customers – which was its claim to fame.

For those unaware, Netezza is a suite of appliances, built as a massively parallel system, to run complex analytics and workload on large and diverse data sets. It’s a combination of a hardware and software that was developed for one thing – performance.

Fast forward to today, and IBM realized one thing – hardware doesn’t like cloud. That alone could be the reason for IBM throwing in the towel on the once famous appliance.

Today, cloud-native database solutions are far superior in a variety of factors. Cost, scalability, resiliency and performance are a few criteria that all CIO’s consider when looking to make the jump to a cloud-based platform. And there’s no shortage of options; all of the major public-cloud vendors have strong solutions to address all of these factors – be it AWS’ RedShift, Azure’s SQLDW, Google’s BigQuery, or Snowflake’s Cloud-based EDW. 

IBM does have its own cloud-native solutions, but companies are using this end-of-life scenario as an opportunity to unshackle themselves from the single-vendor architecture that were so pervasive in the early 2000s, and not for just Netezza, but other legacy solutions as well. We see the same situation being played out with customers that have invested in Teradata and Oracle.

IBM’s announcement doesn’t come as a surprise to many enterprise customers, but the lack of clarity on migration options and approach certainly does. In a statement now removed from their website, IBM stated that “most customers will achieve up to 90-95 per cent compatibility…” when migrating to their next-generation Integrated Analytics System. This doesn’t exactly instill confidence in staying with “Big Blue”.

This is perhaps why so many Netezza clients have been exploring migration options to the cloud, and why our SHIFT™ technology is gaining considerable interest in the market. Over the past year we’ve spoken to many CIOs that have a strong motivation to move workloads to the cloud. SHIFT™ is an application code translation tool that translates 95%+ of the legacy workloads – including SQL, Stored Procs, UDFs, ETL/Orchestration and DDL – to an optimized version best suited for the target cloud environment. SHIFT™ can save over 67% of migration costs and time versus traditional manual migration methods, for systems including not just Netezza, but other including Teradata and Greenplum.

For Netezza customers, there is a silver lining to IBM’s end-of-support announcement: Next Pathway can get you to the cloud fast.