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Mark Madsen

Open source is becoming a required option for consideration in many enterprise software evaluations, and business intelligence (BI) isn't exempt. This blog is the interactive part of my Open Source expert channel for the Business Intelligence Network where you can suggest and discuss news and events. The focus is on open source as it relates to analytics, business intelligence, data integration and data warehousing. If you would like to suggest an article or link, send an e-mail to me at open_source_links@ThirdNature.net.

About the author >

Mark, President of Third Nature, is a former CTO and CIO with experience working in both IT and vendors, including a stint at a company used as a Harvard Business School case study. Over the past decade, Mark has received awards for his work in data warehousing, business intelligence and data integration from the American Productivity & Quality Center, the Smithsonian Institute and TDWI. He is co-author of Clickstream Data Warehousing and lectures and writes about data integration, business intelligence and emerging technology.

With Oracle's acquisition of BEA now looking like a done deal, the big question is what this means for people looking at infrastructure software. I think it will actually help the open source, because Oracle becomes less appealing in the short term.

Given the massive overlap between application servers, middleware, data integration and Fusion middleware in Oracle, this makes the overlaps and rationalizing products even worse. Oracle has acquired 41 companies in 45 months, a rate that would make the Cisco of the 90's happy. Unlike Cisco, Oracle doesn't seem to be as good at merging the acquired companies into the fold, or rationalizing the software portfolio. That could easily come back to bite them. At WSJ there's a good look into the lack of synergies in acquisitions if you're interested in reading about this in more detail.

As usual with acquisitions, new customers are likely to shy away from the company for a while. Given Oracle's incredibly slow progress (look at Fusion), that could be a long while. Open source tools provide a lower-cost option companies can use while they wait for the market to settle. And maybe when they do, they'll find that it's not such a bad choice. Maybe we'll see a pickup in MuleSource, JBoss, Tomcat, and other open source middleware as the big vendors consolidate.

Update: Matt Asay has a more detailed post describing how the Oracle-BEA deal may already be helping JBoss.

Posted January 16, 2008 1:02 PM
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