Hadoop 2013 – Part One: Performance

It’s no surprise that we’ve been treated to many year-end lists and predictions for Hadoop (and everything else IT) in 2013. I’ve never been that much of a fan of those exercises, but I’ve been asked so much lately that I’ve succumbed. Herewith, the first of a series of posts on what I see as the 4 Ps of Hsdoop in the year ahead: performance, projects, platforms and players.

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Stack Up Hadoop to Find Its Place in Your Architecture

2013 promises to be a banner year for Apache Hadoop, platform providers, related technologies – and analysts who try to sort it out. I’ve been wrestling with ways to make sense of it for Gartner clients bewildered by a new set of choices, and for them and myself, I’ve built a stack diagram that describes the functional layers of a Hadoop-based model.

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2013 Data Resolution: Avoid Architectural Cul-de-Sacs

I had an inquiry today from a client using packaged software for a business system that is built on a proprietary, non-relational datastore (in this case an object-oriented DBMS.) They have an older version of the product – having “failed” with a recent upgrade attempt.

The client contacted me to ask about ways to integrate this OODBMS-based system with others in their environment. They said the vendor-provided utilities were not very good and hard to use, and the vendor has not given them any confidence it will improve. The few staff programmers who have learned enough internals have already built a number of one-off connections using multiple methods, and were looking for a more generalizable way to create a layer for other systems to use when they need data from the underlying database. They expect more such requests, and foresee chaos, challenges hiring and retaining people with the right skills, and cycles of increasing cost and operational complexity.
My reply: “you’re absolutely right.”

For GoodData, SaaS Changes The Channel Model Too

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. Read more of this post

Oracle Sets Sights on BI Leadership. Has it Picked the Right Target?

Oracle is not first in BI, and wants to change that – that was the clear message of a well executed, multi-site “real plus virtual” event with top executives showing off the result of a multi-year effort to rationalize and integrate a set of leading but overlapping components into a seamless suite. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (OBIEE) deserves the accolades it has already received from analysts who welcomed its announcement – it makes bold and serious bets on effective centralized metadata administration, data integration/ unification and optimized analytic architecture, collaboration, globalization, mobile device support, and a powerful link to action that will be most effective (unsurprisingly) with its own business applications. While it misses some pieces – fully integrated in-memory processing, SaaS and cloud support among them – these will be forthcoming, and Oracle is clearly committed to a quicker release cycle now that the thorny internal politics around legacy products seem to be resolved. But its competitive focus may be misdirected; while SAP is still ahead in market share, IBM is the bigger threat in the marketplace.

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IBM Shows Broad Mobile Portfolio at Largest Lab

IBM employs 45,000 software engineers worldwide, and like all large firms, has been greatly expanding its overseas contingent, leading some in the US to complain that not enough is being done “back home.” In mid-June, IBM provided an answer with the opening of a new lab facility in the Boston suburb of Littleton, Massachusetts, one of 70 IBM Software Labs around the globe, and its largest in North America.  It has “more square footage than Boston’s Fenway Park or the TD Garden,” IBM noted, and employs fully 10% of the firm’s software engineers. Since 2003, IBM said, it has acquired 14 Massachusetts-based companies, partnered with more than 100 VC-backed small firms, and has more than 1,600 business partners in New England. This investment was not lost on the Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, who joined IBM SVP and Group Executive Steve Mills for the lab opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. In a bid to demonstrate the breadth of his portfolio, Mills assembled the heads of several of his software brands to discuss mobility, a primary focus of the Littleton lab. Read more of this post

Sybase SQL Anywhere 12 Extends Mobile Leadership

In my coverage of SAP’s Sybase acquisition, I noted that SQL Anywhere is a best kept secret among more than 20,000 developers who relish its ease of embedding and minimal database administration. Now Sybase is about to release its next version, SQL Anywhere 12, with ambitions to add to its claimed ten million users worldwide using SQL Anywhere-powered applications. Geospatial features, key to mobile applications, will feature prominently. Read more of this post

Microsoft STB’s Cloud Vision: Rashomon in Reverse

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.

On the surface, Akiro Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon (based on the short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa) qualifies as a conventional police procedural, set in 19th century Japan. While traveling to their home, a samurai and his wife are confronted by a bandit, who rapes the wife and murders the husband. But when the bandit is captured and tried for his crimes, the tale takes a psychological turn. The narratives of the event, as told by three living witnesses and the ghost of the samurai are not merely dissimilar; they are openly contradictory, thus forcing the other participants and the audience to determine who is lying, where the truth lies and why.

Modern day New Orleans, La. is 10,000 miles and 200+ years removed from 19th century Japan, but the story of Rashomon came to mind during Microsoft’s recent TechEd conference. During his opening keynote, Server and Tools Business (STB) President Bob Muglia offered conference attendees insights into the company’s vision of cloud computing, related products and services, and Microsoft’s long-term plans for the cloud. Up front, we were struck by the depth of the company’s efforts and the breadth of its goals; Microsoft doesn’t intend to simply be a player in cloud products and services but the leader in cloud-related development, strategy and solutions delivery. Read more of this post

Microsoft Murky on Cloud Licensing

By Laura DiDio, ITIC

Microsoft did a very credible job at its TechEd conference in New Orleans last week, laying out the technology roadmap and strategy for a smooth transition from premises-based networks/services to its emerging Azure cloud infrastructure and software + services model.

One of the biggest challenges facing Microsoft and its customers as it stands on the cusp of what Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business (STB) unit characterized as a “major transformation in the industry called cloud computing,” is how the Redmond, Wash. software giant will license its cloud offerings. Read more of this post

Just a Glimpse of Windows Phone 7

Roger Kay examines Microsoft’s much-needed new smartphone OS play. I’m delighted to welcome Roger to the blog.

Next Iteration of Microsoft’s Mobile Platform Connects Well with Backend Services

The much-missing Microsoft mobile effort was on display for a brief flash — which you could easily have missed if you sneezed at the wrong moment — during Server & Tools chief Bob Muglia’s speech at TechEd in New Orleans last week.

In his defense, Muglia is a Server & Tools guy and mobile phones are pretty tangential to his main businesses.  But one couldn’t help noticing a scattered quality to his presentation.  He just had so many areas to cover — each of which easily deserved its own keynote, if not a separate conference — that he could only give them the most succinct treatment individually.  But what he did show of Windows Phone 7 indicates that the effort continues apace and we can expect to see a fairly interesting platform later this year.  Microsoft’s position in the on-fire smartphone category has been eroding in recent years, victim of Apple’s success with the iPhone and the arrival of Android as a viable alternative platform.  Elsewhere and later at the conference, other company executives announced new marketplace policies and highlighted the business value of Windows Phone 7 in 10 mobile sessions. Read more of this post

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