What is Microsoft’s Gemini?
Gemini is essentially an add-in to Excel that allows very large sets of data to be manipulated. Why Excel? Simply because it’s a familiar environment for most people and the place where they expect to perform analysis.
But there’s more. Not only can Gemini handle very large sets of data, but it can also allow data from disparate sources to be cross analyzed. So, for instance, you might pull in some data from your data warehouse and cross-correlate it with data from the Internet or with data you already hold in Excel.
Let’s face it — Excel doesn’t have a great track record of being able to handle big sets of data. So Microsoft has added a new in-memory column store to handle the data. Can Gemini? Well, the demo I watched was run on a desktop with 8 GB RAM and a quad processor, and costs just less than $1,000. It was handling 100 million rows of data effectively instantaneously. So, I’d take that as a yes.
Clearly, Gemini is not aimed at the professional database (relational or multidimensional) developer — it is aimed at the business user who needs to perform analysis. So there are no tools for explicitly allowing you to create, for example, a star schema. Instead, Gemini is built for end users and it will, for example, automatically infer relationships between the sets and join them behind the scenes (it also has mechanisms to help deal with nonmatching data).
So it’s a fascinating technology — but what is it for, how will it be used? The honest answer is that nobody currently knows and in five years’ time it will either be a forgotten idea or in common usage. But the possibilities are intriguing.
Busines Intelligence Keynote: Self Service Analysis
Self Service Analysis Demo
Sharing Self Service Analysis Demo