IBM’s IOD Showcases DB2, Informix, InfoSphere. Now, About Marketing….

It was hard to decide where to look first in Las Vegas this year at IBM’s flagship information management event. Coming as it did on the heels of a massive, sprawling Oracle Open World, it was also overwhelming, but distinguished itself immediately by its focus. Whereas Oracle has smashed together hardware systems, apps, middleware, java and development, systems management and database into a bewildering multi-site show, IBM continues to run separate events for Websphere, Rational, Tivoli, and Lotus. No single IBM event trumpets “we’re the biggest,” and they don’t take over the towns they’re in; the content seems a bit more manageable. And as an attendee who hopes to get a broad view, I’m happy with that. However, as I’ll discuss below, Oracle is winning the messaging war nonetheless.

There was indeed talk of systems at IoD this year, as Smart Analytics Systems got a refresh and some added units on x-based platforms. Flash memory additions to the x-based 5600, bundling InfoSphere and Cognos along with an updated Linux release, provide the basis for a good story along with more cores, memory and storage. A similar story is possible for the POWER-based 7700, which also added the new Blue Darter solid state disk (SSD.) And the z audience gets the 9600, with its sidecar, the transparent offload to the Smart Analytics Optimizer. Yes, IBM has a column-based database, with innovative storage tweaks and an optimizer that knows when to use it and when not to. Great promise there.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Try this: ask 10 IT people what Exadata is, and what Smart Analytics Systems are. Ask them who makes the offerings, and what they do. Go ahead…I’ll wait….

Back? OK. Here’s what I learned, after doing that experiment at 3 events attended by IT people (data people, in fact.) 8 of 10 I asked knew Oracle makes Exadata and it’s a wicked fast platform for data. 4 of 10 knew who makes the other one, and fewer knew why. On visibility and buzz, game Oracle.

There is much more to talk about, and visibility and buzz are not everything. IBM’s numbers continue to be good, and nobody in Armonk is complaining. But the IBM Software brand needs to get more attention, more investment, and a tighter, more focused story. The good news? Conversations I’ve been having suggest that it will in 2011, and it’s about time. Read more of this post

Kalido “Cascades” Continue Cadence on Designed DW Development

Kalido‘s ongoing evangelization of automation for governed, designed data warehouses has delivered fine results for the small, Massachusetts-based firm. In a recent conversation, the team shared recent results: a profitable fiscal year, with a Q4 that was up 35% and momentum that carried into the traditionally slow Q1 with 25% year over year growth. Since I last discussed Kalido at the time of its virtual conference a year ago, new name sales in the US and Europe as well as add-on business in existing accounts are a healthy sign . New partnerships, new data source support,  and a new release all are likely to sustain and even increase the momentum in the  autumn and winter selling seasons. Read more of this post

EMC Buys Greenplum – Big Data Realignment Continues

EMC’s acquisition of Greenplum, announced today as a cash transaction, reaffirms the obvious: the Big Data tsunami upends conventional wisdom. It has already reshaped the market, spawning the most ferment in the RDBMS (and non-R DBMS via the noSQL players) space in years. When I first posted on Greenplum over a year ago, I said that

Open source + capital has created an intriguing new model of rapid innovation in “mature” markets, and the database space – like BI – is not a done deal. It is indeed possible to escape the gravity well, if you execute. Greenplum is getting it done, and is among the new stars to watch.”

Why the open source reference? Greenplum uses a parallelization layer atop PostgreSQL (like Aster, another of the new breed of ADBMS.)

Now EMC has written the next chapter in that story. In the process, it adds a new piece (after literally dozens of others in the past few years) to its own portfolio, which already includes unstructured data (via Documentum) and virtualization (via VMWare), layered in among the industry-leading storage and information management pieces. Disruptive? You bet. Is EMC finished? I doubt it. Candidates? BI tools, ETL, MDM, data integration come to mind. Losers? At least one big one. Read on. Read more of this post

Informatica Re-Factors the Value Chain for the Cloud

Informatica’s cloud ambitions continue and deepen with each new release. In the years since its 2006 launch, Informatica Cloud, the strategic initiative launched to bring Informatica’s data integration assets to the cloud,  has won salesforce.com’s Best of AppExchange award for 2008 and 2009, added other cloud-based applications as targets, and most significant, signed up 650 clients. Customers like Qualcomm and Toshiba are syncing their SaaS apps with on-premise data, enhancing compliance, and extending their BI capabilities.  In a recent conversation, Darren Cunningham, Vice President, Cloud Marketing told me that Informatica is processing over 30,000 jobs per day, involving over 6.5B rows of data per month. Read more of this post

Does Informatica get a place at the head table?

From  Judith Hurwitz, president, Hurwitz & Associates (http://jshurwitz.wordpress.com).

Informatica might be thought of as the last independent data management company standing. In fact, that used to be Informatica’s main positioning in the market. That has begun to change over the last few years as Informatica can continued to make strategic acquisitions. Over the past two years Informatica has purchased five companies  — the most recent was Siperian, a significant player in Master Data Management solutions. These acquisitions have paid off. Today Informatica has past the $500 million revenue mark with about 4,000 customers. It has deepened its strategic partnerships with HP, Ascenture, salesforce.com, and MicroStrategy.  In a nutshell, Informatica has made the transition from a focus on ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools to support data warehouses to a company focused broadly on managing information. Merv Adrian did a great job of providing context for Informatica’s strategy and acquisitions. To transition itself in the market, Informatica has set its sights on data service management — a culmination of data integration, master data management and data transformation, predictive analytics in a holistic manner across departments, divisions, and business partners. Read more of this post

Initiate Acquisition, InfoSphere Business Information Monitor Intro Punctuate IBM’s Information Governance Launch

IBM chose a regular meeting of its Data Governance Council to launch a series of now-renamed Information Governance services and products and announce a definitive agreement to acquire Initiate Systems. A privately held software vendor based in Chicago, Illinois, Initiate stands as IBM’s 30th acquisition in the information and analytics sector. Initiate’s data integrity software for information sharing is designed to help health care clients work more intelligently and efficiently by supporting timely access to patient and clinical data. It also enables governments to share client information across multiple agencies to better serve citizens.

This post was co-authored by Merv Adrian and Charles King of PUND-IT. It’s a little more narrative than my usual posts (and longer), and is reproduced here in the form it appeared in the PUND-IT newsletter. Read more of this post

Informatica Passes Half-Billion Mark, Buys Siperian, Targets Cloud

Informatica has announced another, long-rumored acquisition: Siperian, thus continuing a steady march toward a comprehensive portfolio play. In 2009, its strong growth path made it the clear independent leader in data integration.  With Release 9, its vision of a data integration platform grew to providing a comprehensive approach to everything from data discovery services to data quality. While growth slowed during a tough year for the economy overall, Informatica grew revenue in every quarter, and made key acquisitions in 3 successive quarters (Applimation, AddressDoctor and Agent Logic) and began to make significant moves into the cloud via partnerships with Amazon, salesforce.com and others. Agent Logic added event detection and processing to support real-time alerting and response. As 2010 begins, this latest move is synergistic from the outset; Rob Karel points out in his excellent blog post that “Siperian MDM technology…already is deeply integrated with Informatica’s identity resolution and postal address technology. In addition…Siperian MDM customers [are] using Informatica for data integration and data quality, meaning there is a lot of existing experience and know-how on integrating Informatica’s portfolio with Siperian.” Read more of this post

Kalido Virtual Conference Scores Big

I’ve been critical of virtual conferences in the past, but I just saw the future, and it works. Kalido, a relatively small vendor, has demonstrated that careful preparation, serious commitment, and the right team can allow smaller firms to “punch above their weight,” putting on an event that captures great leads, promotes and sustains community, collects requirements for future product development in a participatory model, and satisfies partners with an event that costs a fraction of the in-person kind.  If you’re not familiar with Kalido, they deliver what they like to call a fully governed data warehouse, a suite of modeling, governance (including MDM) and model-driven DW automation tools that have been adopted by over 85 enterprise customers.

Kickfire Disrupts DW Economics, Targets Mainstream ADBMS Opportunities

In just 18 months, Kickfire has established itself as one of the most intriguing of the ADBMS insurgents. It espouses a radical go-to-market strategy: target the overwhelming majority of the market in the sub-5Tb space, and let others battle over who’s doing best at the top end, fighting over a small group of prospects. Kickfire also takes a radically different architectural approach: it uses an “SQL chip” to run much of its work in hardware, to dramatic effect in performance.

In April 2008, the Kickfire data warehouse appliance was announced at a MySQL conference, and simultaneously the company released 100Gb and 300Gb TPC-H benchmarks  that transformed price-performance expectations at the low end of the market. 6 months later the appliance became generally available, and 6 months after that had its first production reference. Since then, the company has had two encouraging quarters, and the product is now in the hands of some two dozen early adopters, a half dozen of whom are referenceable production sites. I spent some time recently with Kickfire CEO Bruce Armstrong to discuss the story so far, and Kickfire’s recent announcement of Kickfire 1.5 and the 3000 series appliance.

Read more of this post

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