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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 DBMS 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.


Posted December 15, 2010 1:20 PM
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Oracle's newest BI release is massive, spans multiple product categories, and raises the bar for competitors in dramatic fashion. In my prior post I focused on its rollout and competitive posture. The market has waited a long time as the reconciliation of many moving parts was accomplished - most notably the convergence of the Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) offering and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Hyperion integration with its Essbase acquisition was not complete. In 2007, OBI's newest release (10.1.3) was most notable in many eyes for its new Microsoft Office support. PeopleSoft and Siebel had been acquired some two years before that, and Master Data Management was already a topic of discussion then (2005). There was a long way to go. And analysts? Well, think of us as the kids in the back: "Are we there yet?"

More - warning - it's quite long.

Posted July 20, 2010 12:06 PM
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ADBMS vendor SAND Technology's report on its 2009 fiscal year seemed to offer little reason to change my earlier skeptical position on the firm. Its 2009 revenue was essentially flat at $7 million (Canadian dollars throughout). Cost of sales, R&D, and SG&A - and the firm's net loss - were also nearly unchanged. And yet, there are changes going on, and they are positive signs, especially for a year in which the IT market will rebound. Net income for SAND's fiscal 2010 first quarter was $553,253 on revenues of $2,485,464 - a substantial turnaround from a net loss of $989,850 on revenues of $1,223,928 for fiscal Q1 2009. One quarter is not a trend, but it is a good sign.

For more, click here.

Disclosures: SAND Technology is not a client.

Posted January 21, 2010 10:15 AM
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Xkoto, the database virtualization pioneer, has generated substantial interest since its first deployments in 2006. Still privately held and in investment mode, Xkoto sees profitability on the horizon, but offers no target date, and appears in no hurry. Its progress has been steady: in early 2008, a B round of financing led by GrandBanks Capital allowed a step up to 50 employees as the company crossed the 50 customer mark. 2008 also saw Xkoto adding support for Microsoft SQL Server to its IBM DB2 base. Charlie Ungashick, VP of marketing for Xkoto, says that 2009 has been going well, and the third quarter was quite strong. And at the end of September 2009, Xkoto announced GRIDSCALE version 5.1, which adds new cluster management capabilities to its active-active configuration model, as well as Amazon EC2 availability.

"Traditional" models of passive failover and passive disaster recovery are high cost, inflexible architectures that xkoto's GRIDSCALE replaces with multiple identical databases copies that it manages in an active-active configuration for lower cost scale-out and disaster recovery (DR.)  Applications don't "see" it; GRIDSCALE captures the SQL statements and replicates them to the copies - both DDL and DML - with an optimistic, non-synchronous protocol: the first successful response goes back to the application.

Customers include CNN, Puma, HSBC, and the US Department of Homeland Security. Ungashick says Western Europe is doing very well - half of Q3 revenue came from Europe. The firm has recently added direct sales headcount in South Africa and Asia, and is continuing to add more. The partnership with IBM has been instrumental in some big wins for both parties. Xkoto is arguably the closest DB2 has to answer Oracle's RAC, and Xkoto participated with IBM in several deals that needed this capability.

GRIDSCALE version 5.1's Amazon EC2 availability enables multiple DB2 databases running in the cloud to work together, and avoid the limitations formerly resulting from the lack of shared storage - allowing load distribution in the cloud for the first time.Version 5.1 also adds automatic recovery, Kerberos support for authentication, and other features as described here.

The SQL Server version of GRIDSCALE 5.1 features a new, "driverless" configuration. Native SQL Server drivers, including ADO, .NET Framework, and OLE DB are now supported; GRIDSCALE has implemented the tabular data stream (TDS) protocol Microsoft inherited and updated from Sybase. Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Manager and other tools compatible with Microsoft interfaces can be used for management of the server instances. Ungashick says he's seeing more opportunities with Microsoft where the competition is Oracle RAC, similar to what Xkoto had already been seeing with DB2 prospects:

A number of situations have arisen recently with SQL Server customers recognizing that their data warehouses are not adequately designed for availability and disaster recovery. As the DWs become more important to the business, we think we'll see much more interest in that use case," he said. 

Xkoto is hoping to leverage the Microsoft community to drive business there.  The recognition the company has already received - Best of Microsoft Tech•Ed 2009 and Gartner's "Cool Vendor in IT Operations and Virtualization" among them - will go a long way towards boosting its visibility. This is a promising model, and Xkoto has the early lead - which will be a challenge to hold as the big database vendors add their own capabilities in this area. Meanwhile, Ungashick says, there are other database products that could use similar capabilities and we can expect to see announcements with others in the year ahead.

Posted December 21, 2009 11:00 AM
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