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Blog: Merv Adrian Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

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Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK blog! Please join me often to share your thoughts and observations on new analytic platforms, BI and data management. I maintain a vendor-focused practice that uses primary research, briefings, case studies, events and other activities that stimulate ideas as a source for commentary on strategy and execution in the marketplace. I believe the emergence of a new class of analytic platforms, and emerging data management and advanced tools herald a next step in the maturity of information technology, and I'm excited to be present for its emergence. I hope my blog entries will stimulate ideas that will serve both the vendors creating these new solutions and the companies that will improve their business prospects as a result of applying them. Please share your thoughts and input on the topics.

 

 

Yes, I know - not everyone believes database benchmarks are useful. My position is that there is value in benchmarks' role in helping engineers wring out bottlenecks, bugs and performance impediments in their products. Berni Schiefer, Technical Executive , Information Management Performance and Benchmarks for DB2, MDM and SolidDB, recently told me that "every time we run [TPC-C] we are astonished at how effectively it hammers every element of the system. We always find bugs, room for tuning. It's the nastiest, most punishing combination there is."

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Posted October 11, 2010 9:52 AM
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IBM's bid to acquire Netezza makes it official; the insurgents are at the gates. A pioneering and leading ADBMS player, Netezza is in play for approximately $1.7 billion, better than 6 times its revenue run rate. When it entered the market in 2001, it catalyzed an economic and architectural shift with an appliance form factor at a dramatically different price point. Titans like Teradata and Oracle (and yes, IBM) found themselves outmaneuvered as Netezza mounted a steadily improving business, adding dozens of new names every quarter, continuing to validate its market positioning as a dedicated analytic appliance. It's no longer alone there; some analytic appliance play is now in the portfolio of most sizable vendors serious about the market.

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Posted October 1, 2010 11:12 AM
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Aster Data, with a new CEO and a fresh $30M round of funding, has announced its new version, nCluster 4.6, which now includes a column data store, staking a claim as the first ADBMS to combine SQL and MapReduce on a hybrid row and column MPP system. While its R&D has hitherto been focused on enabling advanced in-database analytic processing in its flagship "Data-Analytics Server, " Aster has clearly had other irons in the fire. CTO Tasso Argyros tells me that the new column store is entirely new, written from scratch to ensure that Aster's SQL-MR is a universal programming layer atop storage, and that its 1000+ MapReduce-ready analytic functions (and UDFs) will run on both row- and column-based data.

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Posted September 24, 2010 9:56 AM
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Kalido's ongoing evangelization of automation for governed, designed data warehouses has delivered fine results for the small, Massachusetts-based firm. In a recent conversation, the team shared recent results: a profitable fiscal year, with a Q4 that was up 35% and momentum that carried into the traditionally slow Q1 with 25% year over year growth. Since I last discussed Kalido at the time of its virtual conference a year ago, new name sales in the US and Europe as well as add-on business in existing accounts are a healthy sign . New partnerships, new data source support,  and a new release all are likely to sustain and even increase the momentum in the  autumn and winter selling seasons.

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Posted September 17, 2010 6:36 PM
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I've posted already about TDWI's San Diego event, but I still haven't exhausted the thoughts I wanted to share. That's a measure of just how important and successful I think the show was. Three things jumped out at me:

  • The audience is back, and it's ready to spend. The event was buzzing; I was told by organizers that the numbers significantly exceeded expectations. That was easy to see; speeches, booths, and hallways were packed. Vendors told me booth traffic was great, and that visitors (although typically not budget holders) were in or preparing for projects and product acquisitions.
  • The hunger for content continues. In my session and in others, I saw show-of-hands responses to questions like "how many of you have been here before?" "How many of you have built this kind of system?" "How many of you have been trained on [pick a DW-related topic]?"  The responses made it clear that like other TDWI events I've been to, this one was packed with people who were new or intermediate users with training in mind. TDWI's basic training mission has never been healthier.
  • Agile matters. A lot. My first post on the event was put up rather quickly and as the event progressed, I heard the theme flesh out well, with real stories from users who applied the techniques to their projects. My initial impression that we might be looking at another buzzword poorly applied was wrong. Agile's real, and TDWI's coverage and guidance is rich and well worth investigating. The vendors? Well, they're doing what they always do. Caveat emptor. I repeat: it's not an adjective.  Learn what it means and apply it. You can't buy it.

The last point above drives a few more thoughts about Wayne Eckerson's keynote and my comments on it. Wayne had little time to work with, and left the nuance and details of Agile to the agenda speakers who followed. As chairperson, he made the right decision, an unselfish one. Having chaired conferences of my own in my Giga and Forrester days, I applaud his willingness to cut his own time to literally less than a half hour to let his speakers shine.  I was hasty in my comments about his choices - he was clear on the topics he would have covered if he had more time, and subsequent diligence on my part (and his gentle prodding and pointers to prior work TDWI had done on the topic) reveals more detailed examination and training of Agile than I knew was in place.

As I said earlier, the speech itself was a good one, well delivered. And I withdraw my content-based "unsatisfied" comment, Wayne built a conference to tell the Agile story, and didn't attempt to cram it into too little time in his own speech. Instead he delivered some tips to a crowd that hopefully understood how surprisingly radical some of them were. As I've said elsewhere, we who live in the future sometimes forget what's going on in the present - TDWI's strong connection to current user data keeps it grounded, and Wayne's tips captured what leading organizations are doing today - some of which are different in surprising ways from past practice.

TDWI gave Agile credit, and covered it well. BI developers should learn what it can do for them and use if as a bridge to their colleagues in other programming groups - it has the potential to be a shared set of assumptions, processes and practices that bridge what often are separate organizations.


Posted August 30, 2010 9:04 AM
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