Netezza TwinFin Architecture


Netezza TwinFin Hardware Configuration

Netezza TwinFin comes in 3 models: TwinFin 3, TwinFin 6 and TwinFin 12; this number indicates number of S-blades or processors. All models come with

  • Storage: 1 TB hard drives
  • Processor: two CPU, quad core (that is, TwinFin 3 is 3 x 2 CPU with quad core processors).
  • Disk storage: Processor-core factor in TB. For instance, for TwinFin 3 it is 24 TB (take above number, 3 x 2 x 4 core, take this in TB; in other words, each core gets a disk).
  • Netezza version: 5.0 onwards; 6.0 beta is already out as of beginning for 2010 Q1.


TwinFin is radically different from earlier models. Netezza implemented CPU, memory and storage along with an FPGA on previous models. TwinFin uses S-blades that includes CPU, memory and FPGA (a new term coined by Netezza: database accelerator card = FPGA + memory + IO interface); storage is separated and is located in a storage array.

S-blades and Storage

TwinFin 12 is a full rack containing all components. Top portion is occupied by storage array, followed by two hosts (Linux based hosts, configured for high availability so that if one host fails another takes over), KVM and an array of S-blades. Data between two hosts are replicated and are always synched up so that if one host fails, another can assume that role without any problem.

Disk space for TwinFin 12 is a total of 96 TB; one third of it is only used for storing data, another one third is for disk mirror and the other one third is for spool or temporary space for processing queries. Roughly, 32 TB is available on TwinFin 12 for storage of data.


 TwinFin layout and corresponding hardware on the right.


5 thoughts on “Netezza TwinFin Architecture

  1. Netezza also has TF-24, TF-48, TF-96, and TF-120 as standard configurations (2, 4, 8, or 10 racks) in addition to the 1/4, 1/2, and 1 rack configurations (TF-3, TF-6, TF-12). Additional configurations are possible but not “standard” such as a TF-36, or TF-72

    • Correct, looks like TF-3, TF-6 and TF-12 are more common than other configurations or at least made more popular than other TwinFin models. Thanks for that correction, Shawn.

  2. Srini,
    Very nice, straightforward posting about TwinFin. Thanks!

    I have just one very small correction on your parenthetical comment, though: “(a new term coined by Netezza: database accelerator card = FPGA + memory + IO interface)”.

    The “database accelerator card” in TwinFin is based on standard IBM expansion card technology and houses four dual-core FPGAs, a second Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) interconnect for higher data throughput to the 8 SAS disk drives logically associated with each S-blade, and several parallel PCI-E interconnects to the IBM blade-server to which it is attached for direct, high-speed (DMA, where appropriate) access. But there is currently no additional memory allocated on that card.

  3. re: the 96TB of disk space, “32TB is for storage of data” by that do you mean storing the db tables and data or is that disk space available to the users via the host system?

    • Good question. In Netezza, conceptually each storage disk is divided into 3 physical portions.
      1) Data
      2) Mirrored data, this used to be for another disk. In case a disk fails, its copy is located elsewhere on (another) disk. Easy to recover that data; think of this as RAID implementation in a way.
      3) Temp space for processing, such as sorts.
      Each of the above take exactly 1/3rd. That is, data is 1/3 of 96TB=32TB. Remember this is a “rough” explanation, things are different a bit in TwinFin.

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