MS “Gemini:” I had heard about Gemini before. At the BI Conference Keynote last year Gemini was demoed — a user with a laptop running Excel with 100 million rows of data. My mistaken understanding at the time was that this clever parlor trick had a large, server-based in-memory database system network connected. Au contraire Mon Ami! This was a more or less standard 4GB laptop running Vista and Excel with an interesting Excel plug in (“Gemini”)! The magic is columnar compression — the category of technology also used by the log file tool vendors use for fast log file analysis. When a data set is imported into Gemini this columnar compression occurs, but after that, all the processing is on the laptop (MS also demonstrated Gemini on a Netbook, admitting you probably couldn’t get 100M rows on a 1GB machine, but you could get 20M!). Gemini also remembers where all the data came from with XML metadata, solving the traditional problem of ad hoc spreadsheets when the creator is no longer around (“where the hell did this data come from?!!”). The Gemini team is in the under-commit mode for now (smart) but I think this kind of tool could have a profound impact on business analytics over time.