Here is the response of Kickfire CEO Bruce Armstrong, in his own words:
"Thanks for the post on Kickfire, Daniel.
1) We actually came out of stealth mode as a company at the April 2008 MySQL User Conference, where we announced our world records for TPC-H at 100GB and 300GB;
2) Our product went GA at the end of 2008, which we formally announced at the April 2009 MySQL User Conference along with one of our production reference customers, Mamasource, a Web 2.0 online community doing clickstream analysis that hit performance and scalability limitations with MySQL at 50GB;
3) Our focus is on the data warehouse "mass market" with databases ranging from gigabytes to low terabytes, where over 75% of deployments are today according to IDC/Computerworld survey 2008;
4) We chose MySQL as a key component because it has emerged as a standard (12 million deployments) and 3rd-most deployed database for data warehousing according to IDC;
5) While we do take over much of the processing with our column-store pluggable storage engine and parallel-processing SQL chip, we feel it's important to minimize any changes to a customer's database schema and/or application and to allow transparent interoperability with third-party tools;
6) Having come from 15 years at Teradata (and after that Sybase and Broadbase), I know that the high-end of data warehousing is very, very different from the mass market - both are techincally challenging in their own right and require very different product and go-to-market approaches;
7) Finally, regarding Oracle and whether they would "embrace" Kickfire (the question I was asked by Jason on the Frugal Friday show), we believe the data warehouse mass market could create several winners - and having recently raised $20M from top-tier silicon valley investors, we believe we have the resources to be one of them.
Thanks again for the post - we look forward to more from you and the
My comments on this response (note: please read the tone as positive and collaborative --- I might need a job one day):
(1 and 2) I went back to the TPC-H Website, and believe I was indeed incorrect about Kickfire topping TPC-H in 2007 (I might have been thinking about ParAccel instead of Kickfire). According to the Website, Kickfire topped TPC-H in April of 2008 (though assumedly the product being tested was finished sometime earlier than that in order to leave time for auditing the results, etc). That said, there still does seem to be a double launch. The second sentence of the press release from April 14th 2008 said the company "officially launches this week" while the 1st sentence of the press release from April 15th 2009 announces the launching again. But I think what Bruce is saying is that in one case it was the company and in the other case it was the product.
(3 and 4) The point of my post was that I think the market is smaller than these numbers indicate. Sure, there are a lot of MySQL deployments, but that's because it's free. The number of people actually paying for the MySQL Enterprise Edition is far less, but those are probably the people who'd be willing to pay for a solution like Kickfire's. Furthermore, as pointed out in the comment thread of the previous post, a lot of people who use MySQL for warehousing are using sharded MySQL, which is nontrivial (or at least not cheap) to port to non-shared-nothing solutions like Kickfire and Infobright. Finally, the amount of data that corporations are keeping around is increasing rapidly, and the size of data warehouses are doubling faster than Moore's law. So even if most warehouses today are pretty small, this might not be the case in the future. I'm a strong believer that MPP shared-nothing parallel solutions are the right answer for the mass market of tomorrow. Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm openly wondering if the market is actually much smaller than the IDC numbers would seem to suggest. But obviously, if Kickfire, Infobright, or Calpont achieves a large amount of success without changing their market strategy, I'll be proven incorrect.
(6) I'd argue that Bruce's experience at Teradata gave him a lot of knowledge about the high-end market. I'm not sure it automatically gives him a lot of knowledge about the mass market. That said, he probably has more knowledge about the mass market than an academic at Yale :)