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EHarmony finds data warehouse match with Netezza

By Chris Kanaracus
January 28, 2009 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Online dating company eHarmony Inc. has forged a deal with Netezza Corp. for its data warehousing appliances, the companies said today.

Netezza competes with Teradata Corp., Greenplum Inc. and Oracle Corp. in a space that has become red hot in recent years.

EHarmony has more than 20 million registered users and pushes up to 12TB of information at a time into the Netezza system, said Joseph Essas, vice president of technology.

The company uses the Hadoop large-scale computing framework to run scoring algorithms against its pool of users to match potential mates, he said. Behavioral metrics, such as what users do with the matches they receive, or their satisfaction with a match, are fed into Netezza for analysis.

The Netezza system, which eHarmony began using in October, is "more or less working as advertised. ... It runs complicated queries, it's fantastic in terms of table scanning and those sorts of things."

In addition, Netezza provided "really all of the plug-ins we needed" for Oracle, MicroStrategy and other platforms, he said.

Implementation was straightforward. "The way we did a proof of concept with them was, they shipped us a box, we put it into our data center and plugged into our network," he said. "Within 24 hours, we were up and running. I'm not exaggerating, it was that easy."

EHarmony also looked at systems from start-up Aster Data Systems Inc. and Greenplum. Aster's technology was intriguing, but the company was too immature to take a chance on, he said. "They would be learning [on the job] with us and that would be hard for me to stomach," he said.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle's jointly developed Exadata technology for high-end data warehousing, unveiled at last year's OpenWorld show, didn't make the cut either: "My feeling is that product is also in a very early stage right now," Essas said.

"When you run an IT organization you have to ask, 'How many eggs do I want to put in one basket?'" Essas added. EHarmony is already using Oracle's database and Real Application Clusters software.

Netezza also "worked very aggressively" with eHarmony on pricing, Essas said. He declined to say how much his company is paying, but he stressed that the investment is worthwhile, even amid a weak economic environment.

"It's one of those things you don't want to under-invest in during the downtime, because in the uptime, you want to be at the top of the game. But the price tags are high," he said.

A spokesman for Netezza provided only limited pricing information, saying that the company's lower-end systems start at less than $200,000 and scale up from there. Support is an additional cost, but details weren't provided.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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