The Vertica analytic database (Vertica) is a modern, commercially successful RDBMS. It contains a SQL query optimizer, written from scratch, especially for the Vertica storage system and execution engine. The authors wrote their own optimizer, despite a countervailing industry trend to reuse or wrap existing optimizers in new database systems. The Vertica SQL query optimizer was written from the ground up for the Vertica analytic database. Its design, and the tradeoffs they encountered during implementation, supports the case that the full power of novel database systems can be realized only with a custom query optimizer, carefully crafted exclusively for the system in which it operates.