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TypeSubsidiary of IBM
IndustryData Warehousing
HeadquartersMarlborough, Massachusetts, United States
ProductsData Warehouse Appliance
Integrated Data Warehouse Hardware and Software
Professional Services
Customer Services
RevenueIncrease US$190.6 million (FY 2010)
Employees469 (2010)[1]
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TypeSubsidiary of IBM
IndustryData Warehousing
HeadquartersMarlborough, Massachusetts, United States
ProductsData Warehouse Appliance
Integrated Data Warehouse Hardware and Software
Professional Services
Customer Services
RevenueIncrease US$190.6 million (FY 2010)
Employees469 (2010)[1]

Netezza (pronounced Ne-Tease-Ah) designs and markets high-performance data warehouse appliances and advanced analytics applications for uses including enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence, predictive analytics and business continuity planning.

Netezza is widely[citation needed] credited for either inventing or bringing renewed attention to the data warehouse appliance category, depending upon whether one regards long-time data warehouse technology vendor Teradata as having been in the data warehouse appliance category all along.[2]

Founded in 2000, the company is based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, with 19 offices in more than 12 countries, including the UK, Japan, China and Germany.[3] As of August 2010, Netezza had a workforce of 469 employees.[1] The company opened a new development lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August 2010.[4]

On September 20, 2010, IBM and Netezza announced a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire Netezza for $27 per share which valued Netezza at $1.7B.


Data warehouse appliances architecturally integrate database, server and storage components into a single unit.[5] Netezza's appliances use a proprietary Asymmetric Massively Parallel Processing (AMPP) architecture that combines open, blade-based servers and disk storage with a proprietary data filtering process using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).[6]

FPGAs are increasingly used in conventional high performance computing applications where specific computational kernels are performed on the FPGA instead of a microprocessor. Netezza’s FPGA implementation performs complex data filtering so that only relevant portions of big data sets are passed along to the processor to run the SQL query. Additionally, spare FPGA resources are used to perform data compression and decompression, reducing the load on the processor. Because the FPGA handles the compression, and the data set is smaller, data throughput is significantly boosted. In-database processing reduces latency and accelerates data analysis by eliminating the need to move data out of, and results back into, the warehouse.[6]

This has resulted in a resurgence of customer desire to migrate their bulk data processing back into the machine (e.g. Extract Transform Load), obviating the need for large-scale rollouts of companion ETL tool environments. This industry sentiment has taken the ETL tool vendors by surprise, as none of them are ready for the logistical scaling necessary to keep a Netezza machine burning at full capacity. ETL tools typically provide "a means" to push queries to the Netezza machine, but common in-the-box processing approaches regularly submit hundreds of queries, many of them asynchronously, in mere minutes to the Netezza machine. This closes off their processing windows in a fraction of the time of the ETL tools.


Netezza was incorporated in Delaware on August 18, 2000 as Intelligent Data Engines, Inc. and changed its name to Netezza Corporation in November 2000. In July 2007, Netezza Corporation had its initial public offering under the ticker “NZ” on NYSE Arca.[7][8]

Jim Baum was appointed CEO of Netezza in January, 2008 after founder Jit Saxena announced his retirement. Baum started at Netezza as COO in 2006. Prior to joining Netezza, Baum was president and CEO of Endeca in Boston for five years. [9][10]

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Netezza Corporation (NYSE: NZ) on September 20, 2010 announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire Netezza, a publicly held company based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, in a cash transaction at a price of $27 per share or at a net price of approximately $1.7 billion, after adjusting for cash. Netezza will expand IBM's business analytics initiatives to help clients gain faster insights into their business information.[11]


As of September 2010, the primary vertical markets into which Netezza sells are digital media, energy and utilities, retailing, telecommunications, financial services, health care, and government. Most of Netezza's business continues to be in the United States, and much of the rest in the United Kingdom, but the company makes sales in a growing number of additional countries: 75% of the company's product revenue was from U.S.-based customers, while 25% was from international customers for the three months ended July 31, 2010, as compared to 88% of its product revenue from customers in the United States and 12% from international customers for the three months ended July 31, 2009.[3][12] Netezza is reported to have made recent inroads into Japan and Europe.[13]

As of September 2010, the company reported 373 customers worldwide for its primary product, up from 191 in July 2008.[3][14]


TwinFin, Netezza’s primary product, is designed for rapid analysis of data volumes scaling into petabytes. The company introduced the 4th generation of the TwinFin product in August 2009.[1] Netezza introduced a scaled-down version of this appliance under the Skimmer brand in January 2010.[15]

In February 2010, Netezza announced that it had opened up its systems to support major programming models, including Hadoop, MapReduce, Java, C++, and Python models. Netezza's partners predicted to leverage this analytic application support are Tibco Spotfire, MicroStrategy, Pursway, DemandTec and QuantiSense.[16]

The company also markets specialized appliances for retail, spatial, complex analytics and regulatory compliance needs. Netezza additionally sells software-based products for migrating from Oracle Exadata and for implementing data virtualization and federation (data abstraction) schemes.

The Netezza appliance also is the foundation of IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA).[17]


Netezza’s proprietary AMPP architecture is a two-tiered system designed to quickly handle very large queries from multiple users.

The first tier is a high-performance Linux SMP host that compiles data query tasks received from business intelligence applications, and generates query execution plans. It then divides a query into a sequence of sub-tasks, or snippets that can be executed in parallel, and distributes the snippets to the second tier for execution.

The second tier consists of one to hundreds of snippet processing blades, or S-Blades, where all the primary processing work of the appliance is executed. The S-Blades are intelligent processing nodes that make up the massively parallel processing (MPP) engine of the appliance. Each S-Blade is an independent server that contains multi-core Intel-based CPUs and Netezza’s proprietary multi-engine, high-throughput FPGAs. The S-Blade is composed of a standard blade-server combined with a special Netezza Database Accelerator card which snaps alongside the blade. Each S-Blade is, in turn, connected to multiple disk drives processing multiple data streams in parallel in TwinFin or Skimmer.

AMPP employs industry-standard interfaces (SQL, ODBC, JDBC, OLE DB) and provides load times in excess of 2 TB/hour and backup/restore data rates of more than 4 TB/hour.

In 2009, the company transitioned from PowerPC processors to Intel CPUs.[18] In August, 2009, with the introduction of the 4th generation TwinFin product, Netezza moved from proprietary blades to IBM blades.[19]


As of September 2010, the company's customer base includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Capital Blue Cross of Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Con-way Freight, DataLogix, Dish Network,Epsilon, interCLICK, IntercontinentalExchange, Japan Medical Data Center, Kelley Blue Book, Marshfield Clinic, MediaMath, MetroPCS, MicroAd, La Capitale Assurances Générale,, NYSE Euronext, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Canadian Tire, Safeway and The Nielsen Company.

In April 2010 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) purchased a data warehouse and analytics appliance from Netezza as part of a $178m smart-grid project being funded by the US Department of Energy.[20]

Netezza also holds an annual user conference called Enzee Universe which hosts technology tracks, case studies, trainings, and speakers such as Stephen L. Baker.[21]


Netezza’s main competitors include Oracle Exadata and Teradata, as well as Microsoft, Sybase IQ, Infobright's Infopliance, Vertica, Aster Data Systems and Greenplum.[22]

Recognition & Criticism[edit]

Netezza was added to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for DBMS in January, 2009.[23]

Netezza was mentioned in "The Spy Files", released by the controversial whistleblower organization WikiLeaks. The file claims Netezza bought a copy of The Geospatial Toolkit, a location-based analytic software from The Intelligent Integration Systems, Inc., "allegedly reverse engineered the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for use in remotely piloted drone aircraft". It goes on to state, "IISI, which says that the software could be wrong by a distance of up to 40 feet, sued Netezza to prevent the use of this software. Company founder Rich Zimmerman stated in court that his 'reaction was one of stun, amazement that they (CIA) want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work.'"[24]


  1. ^ a b c "Netezza's TwinFin fuels profit surge," "Between the Lines," ZDNet Blog, August 27, 2010
  2. ^ "Teradata decides to compete head-on as a data warehouse appliance vendor," "DBMS2," September 15, 2008
  3. ^ a b c "Netezza 10-Q," SEC Filing, August 9, 2010
  4. ^ "Netezza sees explosive growth in Q2," "The Register," August 27, 2010
  5. ^ "Oracle, With HP, Debuts Database Server, Storage Hardware Systems," "CRN," September 24, 2008
  6. ^ a b "Netezza to bake analytics into appliances," "The Register," February 24, 2010
  7. ^ SEC filing on EDGAR database
  8. ^ article about the IPO
  9. ^ "Netezza CEO Baum guides data storage firm through downturn," "Mass High Tech," August 30, 2010
  10. ^ "NETEZZA NAMES JIM BAUM PRESIDENT AND COO" (Press release). Netezza. August 1, 2006. 
  11. ^ "IBM to Acquire Netezza," IBM Press Release, September 20, 2010
  12. ^ "Netezza overseas," "DBMS2," September 17, 2008
  13. ^ Adrian, Merv (September 20, 2010). "IBM Acquires Netezza – ADBMS Consolidation Heats Up". "It’s strong in North America, and has made good inroads in Japan and lately Europe as well." 
  14. ^ "Some Netezza customer metrics," "DBMS2," September 12, 2008
  15. ^ "Netezza launches Skimmer data appliance, teases two more," January 25, 2010
  16. ^ Netezza Opens up on Analytics
  17. ^ "IBM - DB2 High Performance Query Accelerator - DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS - Software". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  18. ^ "Netezza Is Changing its Hardware Architecture, Slashing Prices," "Intelligent Enterprise," July 31, 2009
  19. ^ "Netezza Pursues Broader Customer Base with Cheaper Data Storage Technology," "Xconomy," July 31, 2009
  20. ^ "US energy czars plunk Netezza into super lab," "The Register," April 6, 2010
  21. ^ Kirsner, Scott (June 18, 2010). "Data, deep analytics, and curry at next week's Enzee Universe". The Boston Globe. 
  22. ^ "Will EMC, Greenplum Acquisition Spark Data Warehouse Consolidation?," "eWeek," July 7, 2010
  23. ^ "Gartner’s 2008 data warehouse database management system Magic Quadrant is out," "DBMS2," January 12, 2009
  24. ^ "The Spy files". Wikileaks. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 

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