The data warehousing appliance has been compared to a black swan.1 For those who may be unaware of it, there really are black swans including some in Australia discovered by Captain Cook (1728-1779). This creates a powerful metaphor about technology innovation (as well as uncovering one’s blind spots). Unfortunately, some have jumped to conclusions that are unwarranted about the technology innovations, indulged in speculative hyperbole about a particular vendor where there is really less than meets the eye and misunderstood the market dynamics around the data warehousing appliance. Having said that, the metaphor is on target and offers a bold statement of the obvious – namely, that the data warehousing appliance and appliance-like systems are disruptive innovations about which we will be hearing more, much more.

A “black swan event” describes something that is highly improbable and therefore disrupts our existing view of the world. The black swan stands as a stern warning to all those who imagined “All swans are white.” Those who imagined this was a firm rule of science were proven wrong by the experience of Captain Cook, granted he had to go to the South Pacific to find a counterexample, but it exists. Beware of hasty generalization as with the comparison of the black swan with the data warehousing appliance.

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