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Subsidiary of IBM
Industry Data Warehousing
Founded 1999
Headquarters Marlborough, Massachusetts, United States
Products Data Warehouse Appliance
Integrated Data Warehouse Hardware and Software
Professional Services
Customer Services
Revenue Increase US$190.6 million (FY 2010)
Number of employees
469 (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.

Founded in 1999 by Foster Hinshaw, Netezza was purchased by IBM in 2010 for $1.7 billion. Netezza and Hinshaw are credited[2][3] with creating the data warehouse appliance category to address consumer analytics efficiently by providing a modular, scalable, easy-to-manage database system that’s cost effective. This class of machine is necessary to manage the "data-intense" workloads of modern analytics and discovery that are not well handled with legacy technologies, most of which are designed around traditional "computer-centric" workloads.

Netezza's implementation is characterized by (a) data-intelligent shared-nothing architecture, where the entire query is executed on the nodes with emphasis on minimizing data movement; (b) use of commodity FPGA's to augment the CPU's and minimize network bus traffic; and (c) embedded analytics at the storage level.

Netezza is based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, with 19 offices in more than 12 countries, including the UK, Japan, China and Germany.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]


Netezza was founded in 1999 by Foster Hinshaw. In 2000 Jit Saxena joined Hinshaw as co-founder. The company was incorporated in Delaware on December 30, 1999 as Intelligent Data Engines, Inc. and changed its name to Netezza Corporation in November 2000. Netezza announced the industry's first "data warehouse appliance" in 2003[7] to meet the industry's need to make use of the rapidly increasing ability to collect consumer data. In July 2007, Netezza Corporation had its initial public offering under the ticker “NZ” on NYSE Arca.[8][9]

Netezza was an early player in recognizing the exploding market for Big Data and the business value in real time analytics and discovery. Hinshaw coined the term "data warehouse appliance"[2][3] to describe a new architecture of shared nothing parallel nodes specifically targeted for high data volumes for modern data analytics.

Netezza is based on PostgreSQL 7.2,[10] but does not maintain compatibility.

Jim Baum was appointed CEO of Netezza in January, 2008 after co-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.[11][12]

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Netezza Corporation (NYSE: NZ) on September 20, 2010 announced they entered into a definitive agreement for IBM (advised by Eric Mandl & John Metzger) to acquire Netezza 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.[13]


As of September 2010, the primary vertical markets Netezza sells to 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.[4][14] Netezza is reported to have made recent inroads into Japan and Europe.[15]

As of September 2010, the company reported 373 customers worldwide for its primary product, up from 191 in July 2008.[4][16]


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.[17]

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.[18]

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).[19]


Netezza’s proprietary AMPP (Asymmetric Massively Parallel Processing) 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 that 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.[20] In August, 2009, with the introduction of the 4th generation TwinFin product, Netezza moved from proprietary blades to IBM blades.[21]


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, Market6, Marshfield Clinic, MediaMath, MetroPCS, MicroAd, La Capitale Assurances Générale,, NYSE Euronext, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, The TJX Companies, Canadian Tire, Safeway, Vellance 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.[22]

Netezza also holds an annual user conference called Enzee Universe, which hosts technology tracks, case studies, trainings, and speakers such as Stephen L. Baker.[23]


Netezza’s main competitors include Oracle Exadata and Teradata, as well as Microsoft, Sybase IQ, Infobright's Infopliance, Vertica, Aster Data Systems and Greenplum.[24]

Recognition & Criticism[edit]

Netezza was added to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for DBMS in January, 2009.[25]

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.'"[26]


  1. ^ a b c "Netezza's TwinFin fuels profit surge," "Between the Lines," ZDNet Blog, August 27, 2010
  2. ^ a b Infostor » Introducing 'data warehouse appliances'
  3. ^ a b TDWI » Still Another Data Warehouse Appliance Is Coming!
  4. ^ a b c "Netezza 10-Q," SEC Filing, August 9, 2010
  5. ^ "Netezza sees explosive growth in Q2," "The Register," August 27, 2010
  6. ^ "Teradata decides to compete head-on as a data warehouse appliance vendor," "DBMS2," September 15, 2008
  7. ^ "Netezza Performance Server (NPS™) 8000 Series". Product web page. Netezza. Archived from the original on June 4, 2003. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ SEC filing on EDGAR database
  9. ^ article about the IPO
  10. ^ Information about PostgreSQL history of Netezza, slide 44
  11. ^ "Netezza CEO Baum guides data storage firm through downturn," "Mass High Tech," August 30, 2010
  12. ^ "NETEZZA NAMES JIM BAUM PRESIDENT AND COO" (Press release). Netezza. August 1, 2006. 
  13. ^ "IBM to Acquire Netezza," IBM Press Release, September 20, 2010
  14. ^ "Netezza overseas," "DBMS2," September 17, 2008
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "Some Netezza customer metrics," "DBMS2," September 12, 2008
  17. ^ "Netezza launches Skimmer data appliance, teases two more," January 25, 2010
  18. ^ Netezza Opens up on Analytics
  19. ^ "IBM - DB2 High Performance Query Accelerator - DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS - Software". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  20. ^ "Netezza Is Changing its Hardware Architecture, Slashing Prices," "Intelligent Enterprise," July 31, 2009
  21. ^ "Netezza Pursues Broader Customer Base with Cheaper Data Storage Technology," "Xconomy," July 31, 2009
  22. ^ "US energy czars plunk Netezza into super lab," "The Register," April 6, 2010
  23. ^ Kirsner, Scott (June 18, 2010). "Data, deep analytics, and curry at next week's Enzee Universe". The Boston Globe. 
  24. ^ "Will EMC, Greenplum Acquisition Spark Data Warehouse Consolidation?," "eWeek," July 7, 2010
  25. ^ "Gartner’s 2008 data warehouse database management system Magic Quadrant is out," "DBMS2," January 12, 2009
  26. ^ "The Spy files". Wikileaks. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 

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