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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.

 

 

Recently in BI Category

Microsoft chose a user group meeting, Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), for the rollout of its long-awaited, and late, SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse (note, yet again, how foolish it is for vendors to trap themselves with dates in product names.) PDW is late to market; there are other MPP DBMS players there already, and Microsoft is behind in functionality compared to some of them. Some of the most eagerly--awaited features are evidently not slated for the first release. It's also far behind its originally planned ship date following the acquisition of DatAllegro in 2008.

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Posted December 15, 2010 1:20 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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In a recent post I discussed Oracle's market share in BI, based on a press-published chart taken from IDC data - showing Oracle coming in second. As often happens in such discussions, I got quite a few direct emails and twitter messages - some in no uncertain terms - about why the particular metric I chose was not sufficiently nuanced or representative of the true picture. I freely admit: that's true. In general, market observers know Oracle is not typically placed second overall - but the picture is more complex than a single ranking. My point was, and is, that it's too easy to slip into a "who's on top" mentality that obscures true market dynamics. In this post, I'll dig a bit deeper, and describe what different approaches or categorizations show us - and what they don't. Finally I'll talk about how much this matters - and to whom.

More..

Posted August 4, 2010 8:13 AM
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Last time I mentioned GoodData, it was in passing, as I discussed YouCalc and other SaaS BI players. In the ensuing year, many other toes have been dipped into the water. I sat down with GoodData CEO and founder Roman Stanek and Marketing VP Sam Boonin this week to catch up on how it's all going, and from where they sit, the news seems to look pretty good. With 40 employees, 25 customers since last November, and a funding round from the likes of Marc Andreesen and Tim O'Reilly, GoodData seems to be off to a GoodStart. And now it has a new initiative: free analytics for other SaaS players to expand its presence.

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Posted July 29, 2010 8:28 AM
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One of the more philosophical questions analysts like to ask is "What is Big Data?" It's relative - it begs the question, "what's big?" And that is a constantly moving number, and always assessed by comparison to the ridiculous amounts some companies work with. But Big Data as a concept in IT parlance today tends to mean something fairly specific, not just about size but also about composition and the nature of the processing. So I considered a serious attempt at a fairly rigorous discussion about the nature of the workload, structure of the data and the kinds of analytics that comprise what people think of as Big Data....and then I thought of Steve Martin, who would have considered this carefully and then looked into the camera and said "Naaaahh." So I determined to emulate him and have a bit of fun instead, by crowdsourcing some help completing the sentence "You know you have Big Data when..." Here's what some Twitter folks said. Some are funny, some more serious ...

You know you have Big Data when....

... you get a call from the utility company asking you not to run 'that brownout query' again. (@aristippus303 at Datawatch)

... your IT spends more time purchasing storage capacity than making sure the business has the data they need - @judyiko (Informatica)

.,. EMC name a new product after you (@aristippus303 at Datawatch)

...  it piles up so high that it disappears into the clouds (@evertlammerts - I assume pun was intended?)

...  the SAN undergoes gravitational collapse and you get cited by OSHA for an unlicensed singularity. (@datamartist)

...  a query is long enough to require a couple of DBA generations to see it returning first data. (@Stray_Cat)

...  your datacenter manager divides time between installing a new NAS in the kitchen and googling for vacant aircraft hangars. (@alanjharrison)

And a few of mine:

...  you conduct an audit, including external files, and add more in to the databases than you take out.

...  you think Flomax is a new ETL product.

...  the first item on your bucket list is "finish data model."

...  you've never gotten to the "Reduce" part.

...  your Dad won't let you have the keys to the table you want to join to because he's still doing the schema update he started on your birthday. No, your BIRTH day.

OK - that's way more than enough. Don't you have a schema to update? Get back to work. If you get bored, send me some more.


Posted July 26, 2010 2:39 PM
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