What’s the Deal with Vertica TCO?

Posted August 26, 2020 by Paige Roberts, Vertica Open Source Relations Manager

Return on Investment ROI

Recently, a colleague of mine was trying to express why Vertica had such a low total cost of ownership (TCO). It’s not obvious. Our customers rave about the fast return on investment. We have a half dozen excellent case studies from third-parties showing Vertica’s ROI. But why?

Open source options are free. Vertica isn’t free. Yet our TCO is lower. We’re competitively priced, but there may be less expensive options out there, yet I can say confidently that our TCO is lower and ROI higher. That sounds completely counter-intuitive. How can Vertica TCO be lower and our ROI higher than lower-priced competitors or even free software?


Let’s start with Vertica’s biggest claim to fame. Our query speed on analytics is unmatched. There are multiple third-party benchmark studies that prove it. McKnight Consulting just finished doing another one comparing us with the leading cloud analytics platforms, and we smoked them.

When Vertica began, our team of smart engineers started with a fundamental concept for making analytics queries faster, columnar storage. At the time it was revolutionary, and many other platforms have imitated it since then. But we didn’t stop there. For fifteen years, our engineers have stayed on the cutting edge of analytics query performance optimization, improving compression algorithms, doing data manipulation and analysis on compressed data, vectorizing to take advantage of faster chip cache, building in AI to choose the best query execution plans. Performance at scale has been the laser focus of a lot of smart people at this company for a long time.

That’s all cool, but how does it help TCO? The last part of that McKnight Consulting cloud analytics platform benchmark looked at price per query/hour. That’s where we really kicked butt and took some names. If you can do more queries per hour, even if the price is identical, you get more queries done for the same price. More bang for your buck.


There’s one other aspect of price for performance that helped us smoke the cloud competition, concurrency. If more people can use your data analytics platform at once without bogging down response speed, you obviously get far greater value from the software.


Vertica’s storage format, ROS, which stands for Read Optimized Storage, has multiple compression algorithms and a built-in AI that will pick what it believes to be the best one for each data column.  Then it puts the power in your hands to choose compression algorithms yourself if you know your data even better than the AI. This means data in Vertica takes up to 90% less disk space than uncompressed data. That not only improves performance as I mentioned before, but it also saves a ton on data storage costs.

Deployment Flexibility

The Vertica license doesn’t specify deployment location. Unlike some of our competitors, we don’t charge differently, or separately to use Vertica on a cloud, on-premises, on one particular cloud vs another. The Vertica license is a single license for on-premises, this cloud, that cloud, multi-cloud, a hybrid model, etc.

Recently, a good customer, MedeAnalytics, bought a big expansion of their Vertica license due to a surge in company growth. The intention was to vastly expand their on-premises analytics cluster. After the deal was all signed, the executives of MedeAnalytics decided that every new IT project should be done on the cloud. Their CIO, Scott Checkoway, called Vertica’s VP of Product Marketing and Management, Joy King. He asked, “What will it cost me to buy the same capacity on a cloud?” She said, “Nothing. You already paid for the license. Where you deploy it is entirely up to you.”

(By the way, you should come see the MedeAnalytics Data Disruptors webcast coming up in November, with Scott Checkoway, and special guest host, Joy King.)

Free Non-Production Clusters

This will come as a surprise to a lot of people who aren’t already Vertica customers, but the Vertica license is for production clusters only.*

Everyone has a development and test environment. Some people are just lucky enough to have them separate from production. 😉

Seriously, everyone needs a development environment and a test environment that are as similar to production as possible. Some of our competitors seem like they’re giving you a deal, but they tack on the bucks when you mention that you also need a dev and test cluster, as if that’s unexpected and shocking. Vertica is fully aware that everyone doing analytics needs a dev and test cluster, so we include that in the price. You pay only for the production environment.

Vertica value - 5 for the price of 1

Cool, right?

But you also need a disaster recovery cluster. How much does that cost?

That is also included in the license. We would far prefer for you to have a safe way to recover your data in an emergency than charge you a few extra bucks.

When you pay for your production environment, dev, test, QA and DR clusters are not extras. They’re a normal part of production enterprise data analytics, and we believe you should get full analytical capability for a reasonable TCO.

That’s what we’re here for.

You’re welcome. 😉


* Doesn’t apply to OEM customers.

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