Aster Data Launches Cloud Edition of Analytic Database

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Aster Data Systems' nCluster relational database for high-end data analysis can now be deployed on the cloud infrastructure platforms from Amazon Web Services and AppNexus, Aster said Tuesday.

The nCluster system breaks up workloads across three tiers. One deals with data loading and export to and from external sources; a "worker" layer stores data for querying; and a set of "queen" nodes handles intelligent query planning and processing. Meanwhile, users work with the cluster as if it were a single entity. The three-tier system also allows users greater resource-scaling flexibility, Aster says.

In addition, nCluster has support for MapReduce, a parallel programming framework developed by Google for analyzing large sets of data across commodity hardware. Pricing for nCluster starts at US$100,000 per year.

Aster's technical approach is only one of many among the wide range of players in the analytic data-warehousing arena, from established vendors like Teradata to newer ones such as Greenplum, said analyst Curt Monash, founder of Monash Research.

Many of Aster's customers, which include MySpace, "are in some way or another in the Internet business, measuring Internet activity. A lot of that data resides away from the [customer's] place of business," Monash said. It therefore makes sense that Aster would push its software to the cloud, he said.

Other companies are using cloud services for temporary data-analysis projects or testing purposes, but overall EC2 and its peers are "not a big part" of the analytic database market right now, Monash said.

Aster is planning to add support for other cloud providers but has no firm timetable right now, according to company officials.

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