Marketing systems were early adopters of analytical database engines. This was purely from necessity: list segmentation and analysis were the core applications of most marketing systems, and standard relational databases required much tuning and considerable hardware to handle these tasks effectively. Because marketers rarely had the technology budget to pay for this, they were forced to seek the lower-cost alternatives provided by specialized databases, typically using columnar structures. Corporate IT departments were rarely enthusiastic about these nonstandard systems. But because marketing was usually a low priority, IT found it easier to let the marketers buy what they wanted and take responsibility for the consequences than to step in and do the work themselves. No one was quite happy, but an uneasy truce prevailed and everyone got their work done.
Today, specialized analytical databases are a hot trend in corporate IT. These include columnar structures as well as in-memory and shared-nothing parallel processing systems. So you'd think that marketing systems using those databases would be the center of attention, but this is not necessarily the case. It's true that big marketing systems with big analytical databases are more common than ever and that IT is more comfortable with them.
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