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Richard Hackathorn

Welcome to my blog stream. I am focusing on the business value of low latency data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse (DW) appliances, use of virtual world technology, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of business intelligence. However, my blog entries may range widely depending on current industry events and personal life changes. So, readers beware!

Please comment on my blogs and share your opinions with the BI/DW community.

About the author >

Dr. Richard Hackathorn is founder and president of Bolder Technology, Inc. He has more than thirty years of experience in the information technology industry as a well-known industry analyst, technology innovator and international educator. He has pioneered many innovations in database management, decision support, client-server computing, database connectivity, associative link analysis, data warehousing, and web farming. Focus areas are: business value of timely data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse appliances, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of BI.

Richard has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications, presented regularly at leading industry conferences and conducted professional seminars in eighteen countries. He writes regularly for the BeyeNETWORK.com and has a channel for his blog, articles and research studies. He is a member of the IBM Gold Consultants since its inception, the Boulder BI Brain Trust and the Independent Analyst Platform.

Dr. Hackathorn has written three professional texts, entitled Enterprise Database Connectivity, Using the Data Warehouse (with William H. Inmon), and Web Farming for the Data Warehouse.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Richard's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

July 2008 Archives

At the Boulder BI Brain Trust, we heard a presentation from SAS Dataflux about their company background, product offering, and future directions. They are a provider of data quality tools since 1997.

See the complete blog item here.

Posted July 25, 2008 12:43 PM
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With Microsoft's announcement today of their acquisition of DATAllegro, the marketplace for data warehouse appliances (DWA) jumps to the central stage of IT drama. What began as a few emerging start-ups challenging a few big DW vendors has morph into industry game-changer.

I can grasp why Microsoft would sell a wireless mouse here and there. However, a high-end MPP DWA puts Microsoft into the center of the appliance business by delivering soup-to-nuts solutions for large corporations. I never thought that Microsoft would ship real 'iron'. Well, I am now wrong. Perhaps a corporate name change is in order. How about Microhard? (Actually, there are several 'Microhard' companies: one that does OEM wireless modems, and another that does certification training of Microsoft networks.)

I would also imagine that this action will solidify the definition of 'appliance' to mean a real end-to-end solution, which will require a mixture of hardware and software. Thus, product positioning as a software-only appliance will likely to be an endangered species.

In his blog, Stuart Frost notes that acquisition will revitalize the venture capital industry to fund emerging database technology, as was the case two decades ago. This will make the small innovative start-ups more viable, and their conversations with larger corporations more interesting.

In a phone interview, Stuart elaborated on several aspects of the acquisition. Although avoiding any actual amounts, he said that it was a 'very strategic price' that Microsoft paid for DATAllegro. They were initially approached by Microsoft to do a partnership. DATAllegro responded with ideas of putting SQL Server inside, instead of Ingres. The acquisition discussions proceeded from there.

Stuart was excited to start a new life as part of the Microsoft team. He said that he was 'been there & done that' with several start-ups, and it was time to move into different challenges, such as guiding Microsoft into EDW. He emphasized that Microsoft is taking the long-term view of this endeavor and will be flushing out whatever capabilities are required for the EDW marketplace. Stuart was pleased that Steve Ballmer mentioned the acquisition in the context of Microsoft's initiative with enterprise search, a mixture that is quite exciting to large enterprises. More will be discussed at the Microsoft BI Conference in October.

So, is Netezza next to be acquired? ...by Oracle?

Related blogs by colleagues: William McKnight, Colin White, Krish Krishnan
Tags: Business Intelligence, Datallegro, Microsoft

Posted July 24, 2008 1:58 PM
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I attended a two-day briefing at the Rancho Bernardo facility of Teradata. We had a full schedule of talks by cross-section of marketing and technology people. Here are a few glimpses of the event...

Randy Lea, VP of Products and Services, started by sketching their corporate marketing message. We had a good discussion about the concept of Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). Teradata has argued that all analytic data should be centralized into a single EDW and then leverage the biz value embedded in the cross functional relationships. While that goal is still valid, it must 'bend' to the realities within all businesses, even to the extreme of having independent data marts to support applications required NOW. See the TDWI BI Journal article on Agile DW using an integrated sandbox within the EDW.

Dave Schrader, Director of Marketing and Strategy, give a spectrum of business examples focusing on the front-line, back-office, middle management. It was a fascinating tour of innovations that are dramatically changing some industries.

Dan Graham, Enterprise Integration Program Manager, drilled into the cloud of technical pieces of an EDW environment. Think PPT slides filled with hundreds of acronyms; however, think about the importance of executives to understand the biz implications of this swirling cloud.

Dave Klumb, VP of Global Field Operations, gave an overview of the Professional Services organization at Teradata. It was interesting to see what their emphasis

Todd Walter, CTO, took us a quick walk through new product features and ended with a great group discussion on 4-5 industry issues. For instance, we kicked around the biz tradeoffs of integration versus flexibility in the EDW.

Tom Russell, VP of Data Architecture and Modeling Solutions, spoke on an 'integrated' data architecture for EDW. He reminded us that the original goals of data warehousing has been independence of data from application, logical centralization of data, and timely acquisition of data. In large DW shops, there are many BI tools, which should be integrated into the same base tables. The focus is the mapping between the usual logical/physical database design (e.g., ER diagram in ERwin) and the semantics of the BI applications (e.g., specfic star schema).

Mike Goul, a professor at the Arizona State University, described the Teradata University Network (TUN). Teaching Info Sys requires a 'touch of reality' inserted into the classroom. TUN has over 2,000 faculty from 900 universities in 70 countries. There are case studies, BI tools like MicroStrategy, and million-row data warehouse. I wished other vendors were as receptive to the tangible support for universities.

Mark Shainman, Senior Program Manager for Master Data Management (MDM), explained the nature and importance of MDM, along with Teradata's MDM offering. He argued that MDM is a critical piece of the EW infrastructure, which most do in a fragmented way. Mark urged that relationships among and within products, customers, suppliers, and other master data should be managed by a single infrastructure.

Ron Swift, VP of Cross Industry Solutions, gave an overview of the horizontal offerings of Teradata, which has traditionally been vertically oriented (e.g., telcom, financial, retail). Ron noted that past innovations in an industry are now being applied in other industries. The common aspects of those innovation become the seeds for horizontal solutions, such as financal performance, customer mgt, and demand chain mgt. Ron shared some wisdom with the statement "all the reporting does not change our decisions", implying that learning from the past does not change how we react to the decision of today.

Reflection... Teradata continues to be the major EDW vendor to large global firms. With their new lower end offerings, Teradata has the challenge of balancing their thrust toward centralized EDW with responsiveness to new biz requirements. There is sufficient maturity with EDW that there is increasing pressure to extend EDW with more agility, flexibility and responsiveness. Now that is a glimpse of the future for EDW!

Posted July 21, 2008 4:55 PM
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At the Boulder BI Brain Trust, we heard a presentation from Kognitio about their company background, product offering, and future directions. They support high-performance analytics using a scalable MMP architecture.

See the complete blog item here.

Posted July 7, 2008 12:49 PM
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Shawn Rogers blogged about Wordle.net and gave a word cloud of his blogs. This is what I got when I submitted my collection of blogs. So, if you want to know what the Independent Analysts Platform did this last week, just ponder the following illustration.

Posted July 4, 2008 2:45 PM
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