Syncsort Sigma Manages Database Aggregates

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: July 25 2000

Syncsort Sigma Manages Database Aggregates
M. Reed - July 25, 2000

Event Summary

Programmers and administrators of large databases and data warehouses can create, manage and process data aggregates with speed, ease and accuracy with a new software product unveiled by Syncsort Incorporated.

Called Sigma, the vendor states that the product combines a high-performance data aggregate engine with an intuitive graphical user interface. By simplifying aggregation creation, Sigma reduces the time it takes to define and maintain aggregates, saves computer resources when processing aggregates, and dramatically cuts response time for database queries.

"Having the right aggregates available can improve runtime performance up to a thousand times according to leading data warehouse experts," said Vic Werner, director of marketing at Syncsort. "Sigma helps database administrators manage the explosive growth of data in their companies and meet the demands by their users for faster query processing of click-stream data from web sites, 24/7 business operations and electronic commerce initiatives. Sigma frees administrators to concentrate on selecting those aggregates that will optimize query performance."

Market Impact

Data warehouse administrators have long been vexed by the difficulty of creating aggregations of data. (An aggregate is defined by Ralph Kimball in his "Data Warehouse Toolkit" as "the items in a SQL Select list that are one of: SUM, COUNT, MIN, MAX, or AVG"). They are a method to improve query response time for frequently used reporting questions such as "what were my sales numbers by region for the last month?"

IT professionals have used Syncsort for many years to sort data into a predetermined order to reduce processing time in programs (i.e., sorting data for batch input to a COBOL program on mainframes), and they have extensive experience in this area. Many data warehousing products have very counter-intuitive approaches to creating aggregates. Syncsort, in contrast, should have a strong influence in this market because IT professionals are familiar with the Syncsort product family.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating aggregation engines should include Syncsort's Sigma product on their list of vendors to be considered. The importance of aggregation in a data warehouse to reduce query response time and overall database load cannot be underestimated. Syncsort has much experience in the details of sorting data, and will doubtless make a strong impact on this market. The largest drawback we currently see in the product is the lack of ability to output data into IBM's DB2 Universal Database, except via an ODBC driver. However, they do have native support for Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

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