ParAccel and their puzzling TPC-H results

At SIGMOD last week, I was chatting with Mike Stonebraker (chatting might be the wrong verb; it was more like downloading knowledge and advice). ParAccel had a paper at SIGMOD, and the week before they had announced that they topped the TPC-H benchmark at the 30TB scale. Naturally, this resulted in ParAccel coming up in our conversation. Mike asked me a question about the ParAccel TPC-H results that floored me — I was really disappointed I didn’t think of this question myself.

Before telling you the question, let me first give you some background. My knowledge about ParAccel’s TPC-H results came from reading two blog posts about it. First, there was Merv Adrian’s positive post on the subject, and then there was Curt Monash’s negative post. Monash’s negativity stemmed largely from the seemingly unrealistic configuration of having nearly a petabyte of disk to store 30TB of data (a 32:1 disk/data ratio). This negativity was responded to in a comment by Richard Gostanian who has firsthand knowledge since he helped ParAccel get these benchmark results. The relevant excerpt of his comment is below:

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