falling short of a standard <the service at the restaurant was subpar, to say the least>
Synonyms: bush, bush-league, crummy (also crumby), deficient, dissatisfactory,
ill, inferior, lame, lousy,off, paltry, poor, punk, sour, suboptimal, subpar, substandard, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, wack [slang], wanting, wretched, wrong
Related Words: abysmal, atrocious, awful, [slang], brutal, damnable, deplorable, detestable, disastrous, dreadful,execrable, gnarly [slang], horrendous, horrible, pathetic,stinky, sucky [slang], terrible, unspeakable; defective, faulty,flawed; egregious, flagrant, gross; bum, cheesy, coarse,common, crappy [slang], cut-rate, junky, lesser, low-grade,low-rent, mediocre, miserable, reprehensible, rotten,rubbishy, second-rate, shoddy, sleazy, trashy; abominable,odious, vile; useless, valueless, worthless; inadequate,insufficient, lacking, meager (or meagre), mean, miserly, , scanty, shabby, short, skimp, skimpy, spare,stingy; miscreant, scurrilous, villainous; counterfeit, fake,phony (also phoney), sham
In the big data technology industry, we spend most of our time writing blogs and whitepapers about our technology. I’m sure you’ve heard this before…”Our technology is great…it’s the best…most functional…top-notch” and so forth. But we never really discuss when someone might want to use less effective technology – systems that may be more raw, or less suited to the task, or that have no vendor behind them. Sure, these systems can break easily or might not do everything you want, but some of these technologies have tens of thousands of users around the world. So, they must be valid choices, right?
So, when should less effective technology be used? Based on many years in the IT trenches, here is my countdown of the top five reasons you should use a subpar big data platform.
Caution: sarcasm ahead with a mostly serious ending which actually makes a point
Reason Number 5: Not invented here, dude
Who wants to be boring and pick existing technology that is solid… and works? By rolling your own, you get serious technical chops. What’s that knocking sound? That’s O’Reilly Media at your door…they want you to write a book! Seriously, reinvention is under-rated. Sure, relational databases have been around for forty-plus years, but reinventing transaction semantics or indexing would be seriously cool! Give it a funny name and pick a cute animal for the logo and…voila! Tech cred!
Furthermore, using off-the-shelf technology tends to create a situation some IT shops dread: transparency. What? The executives understand the technology we’re using well enough to monitor progress with it? Time to throw it out and build something arcane from scratch to control what the execs see!
Reason Number 4: It’s free
When I was seven, one of my dad’s friends came by to visit around the holidays. He gave me a kitten. My dad got seriously steamed, and my mom looked like somebody had just sneezed in her soup. But the kitten was free, right? Three illnesses, a few injuries, and one or two thousand dollars later, and coupled with a year or so cleaning a litterbox, I realized that the kitten was not – in fact – free.
But we’re talking about software here. Isn’t that different? Free means you don’t need to deal with a sales guy and some engineer who’ll help you set things up in an hour. You just go through a few websites and download four RPMS, the Java SDK, a Java JRE, five or six utilities, upgrade your OS, downgrade your OS, grab some runtime libraries for Linux, the Eclipse IDE, a downgraded version of the Eclipse IDE that’s required by the plug-in you’re about to download, and an Eclipse plug-in which kinda does most of what you need and…voila! You can run the “hello world” example. So free must be good, right? Now, fire up “Getting Better” by the Beatles on your iPod and get to work!
Reason Number 3: You’ve got all the time in the world
Yeah, the business folks are in a panic about losing market share, and the CIO is a little bent out of shape about the fact that the IT budget has been going up at 15% every year, but what’s the big rush? After all, the prospectus for that O’Reilly book needs to be seriously heavy stuff to have a chance of getting anywhere. So dig into the technology! Science projects can be fun when you’re doing science. Hey, do those hardware guys really think that putting data on the disk tracks closer to the spindle will improve read times by 0.01%?? That sounds fun to test! We can write a hack in HDFS for that! Of course, the only way we can tell is on a cluster that has at least a thousand nodes. The good news is that with modern cloud technologies, it’ll take only six months and ten people to test it! The business can wait a little longer.
Reason Number 2: It’s cool
Does anything really need to be said here? Cool + Not Invented Here = Happy Technologists = Productivity, right?
And (drum roll please)…
Reason Number 1: You like risk
Do you fly by those ancient thirty-year olds on your kitesurfing rig wondering why they still use something as yesterday as a windsurfer? Is base jumping from old-school spots like the KL Tower yesterday’s news for you? Well, risk on! In the stock market, risk=volatility=upside, right? And the worst that can happen is the dollar value of your investment hits zero. Why should it be any different with technology? If you’re not base jumping from that erupting volcano, you’re not alive. So bring together the adrenaline rush and the upside potential of adopting something which looks like it isn’t ready so that, in the event it ever gets to be what you need, you’re ahead of the curve!
Summing up, Seriously
While this piece – so far – has been very sarcastic, there’s a nugget of truth hidden within. Businesses globally choose subpar technology every day believing that it will solve their problems. And while they rarely select such technologies based on my sarcastic “top five” list above, they often select these technologies with the mistaken belief that they’re cheaper/better/faster, etc.
Today businesses don’t have to select subpar technologies for big data analytics. Two years ago, Vertica opted to release the Vertica Community Edition. This release of Vertica offers the full functionality of the product on up to one terabyte of raw data and a three node cluster. Furthermore, it now includes the full functionality of Vertica’s sentiment scoring engine (Pulse), Vertica’s geospatial add-in (Place), and Vertica’s auto-schematizer for things like JSON data (FlexZone). I tried to talk the Vertica team out of offering so much for free! But the team wants to share this with the world so organizations no longer have to settle for a subpar data platform. It’s hard to argue with that!
So, if you want to try Vertica CE today, click here.
In my twenty-plus years of working with databases, I’ve installed and worked with just about every commercially available database under the sun, including Vertica. And out of all of them, Vertica has been the easiest to stand up, the most powerful, and the highest quality. Try it. Seriously.
Don’t go for the subpar stuff, because you don’t have to.