The Truth about Data Warehousing and the Public Cloud (VIDEO)

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

A.M. Turing Award Laureate and database technology pioneer Michael Stonebraker delivered a welcome keynote at Data Summit 2019, titled “Big Data, Technological Disruption, and the 800-Pound Gorilla in the Corner.”  

"What's the fly in the ointment to the data warehouse crowd?" Stonebraker, who is an MIT Adjunct Professor and Tamr co-founder, asked. "The answer is the cloud, the public cloud. You guys are all going to move everything there sooner or later. And that may take you a decade, it may take you more time but we're all going to move all of our data there."

DBTA’s next Data Summit conference will be held May 19-20, 2020, in Boston, with pre-conference workshops on Monday, May 18.

Why are we going to do that? he asked. "Well, I'll just give you one quick vignette from Dave Dewitt who, until recently, was the head of the Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab. So you want to know what Azure Data Centers look like? They turn out to be shipping containers in parking lots. Power in, cold water in, internet in, otherwise sealed. Roof and walls are optional, they're only there is you need them for security. If you have raised-flooring data centers in Boston you're obviously not going to compete against the likes of Azure. They are putting up data centers as fast as they can. They're running millions of nodes, you're running hundreds or thousands. You can't compete, so everybody's going to move there."

But the trouble is that the cloud vendors all play by different rules, said Stonebraker. "So in AWS, just for example, you're highly encouraged to use S3 which is not a partition store. You are encouraged to use it by their pricing algorithms. They have a dramatic pricing advantage to their in-house systems that is not applied to the systems that come from elsewhere. And what's hardest is that when you run on AWS, you have to choose what's called a T-shirt size and there are more than 50 of them, which are bundles of computing, storage, networking."

The bottom line is that it behooves everyone to get smart about any vendor’s offerings because the price can vary dramatically. "So cloud architecture—you know how you structure bundles, what database system you use, how you avoid turning over the gross national product to Amazon—all of this is a challenge. So you'll have to get smart."

Many presenters have made their slide decks available on the Data Summit 2019 website at

To access the full video of Stonebraker's keynote, "Big Data, Technological Disruption, and the 800-Pound Gorilla in the Corner," go to