January 21, 2007

Why Michael Stonebraker matters

My deal when I blogged at Computerworld was that I could reuse my stuff if I linked to them. Below is the meat of a post about Michael Stonebraker I made in May, 2005.

Edit: There’s now a whole Michael Stonebraker section on DBMS2.

I’m probably going to mention Mike Stonebraker’s name in one or more other blog entries soon, and not necessarily in the context of always agreeing with him. So I’d like to take a moment to point out that he’s the greatest living contributor to database technology, and this may even have been true when Dr. E. F. “Ted” Codd was still alive.

Along with Eugene Wong and grad student Jerry Held, Mike founded and ran the INGRES research project at UC Berkely, which directly spun off the company later known as Ingres, Oracle’s chief direct competitor in its early years. One of his key lieutenants (and successors) was Bob Epstein, who designed Sybase‘s database technology, which is also the core of Microsoft‘s DBMS. Jerry Held went on to run much of development at Tandem, starting with Non-Stop SQL, the first industrial-strength relational DBMS, and later ran the database products for Oracle.

Mike himself went on with the POSTGRES project, which introduced an approach to user defined functions and abstract data types that swept the DBMS industry. POSTGRES begat Illustra, which was acquired by and became integral to the products of Informix, where Mike also served as CTO. Informix’s database technology was of course later taken over by IBM.

That’s quite a track record, although there are also a couple of more or less failed startups along the way. …

The IEEE awarded Mike its most recent John von Neumann medal, which seems to be a big deal. Here’s the citation.

Related link:


6 Responses to “Why Michael Stonebraker matters”

  1. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Mike Stonebraker Blasts “One Size Fits All” on January 22nd, 2007 6:36 am

    […] When it comes to DBMS inventors, Mike Stonebraker is the next closest thing to Codd. And he’s become a huge non-believer in the idea that one DBMS architecture meets all needs. […]

  2. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Are row-oriented RDBMS obsolete? on January 22nd, 2007 7:23 am

    […] If Mike Stonebraker is to be believed, the era of columnar data stores is upon us. […]

  3. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Arguments AGAINST data warehouse appliances on January 23rd, 2007 5:51 am

    […] I just ran across an article by MIT professor Samuel Madden that attempts to make such a case. And his MIT colleague Mike Stonebraker made similar arguments to me a few days ago. They are not wholly unbiased; indeed, both are involved in Vertica Systems. With that caveat, they have an interesting three-part argument: […]

  4. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » Who’s who in columnar relational database management systems on January 23rd, 2007 9:45 am

    […] The best known columnar RDBMS is surely Sybase’s IQ Accelerator, evolved from a product acquired in the mid-1990s. Problem – it doesn’t have a shared-nothing architecture of the sort needed to exploit grid/blade technology. Whoops. The other recognized player is SAND, but I don’t know a lot about them. Based on their website, it would seem that grids and compression play a big part in their story. Less established but pretty interesting is Kognitio, who are just beginning to make marketing noise outside the UK. SAP’s BI Accelerator is also a compressed columnar system, but operates entirely in-memory and hence is limited in possible database size. Mike Stonebraker’s startup Vertica is of course the new kid on the block, and there are other columnar startups as well whose names currently escape me. […]

  5. Supporting evidence for the DBMS disruption story | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 18th, 2008 2:03 am

    […] 3. Much of the discussion of database diversity comes from a series of posts I coordinated with Mike Stonebraker. […]

  6. NoSQL Q and A | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on December 11th, 2009 11:45 pm

    […] at IBM, with “System R” being a name to search on. The other early research project was INGRES; INGRES spawned a whole lot of products. Oracle, influenced by both, was also very […]

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