Hortonworks IPO – Why Now?

Last week, many observers were surprised when Hortonworks’ S1 for an initial public offering (IPO) was filed. And there are good reasons to be surprised. Why now? CEO Rob Bearden told VentureWire not long ago that he expected to exit 2014 “at a strong $100 million run rate” in preparation for a 2015 IPO. What changed? Perhaps one answer to that question might be answered by asking another question: for whom?

— for more, see my Gartner blog post

Satya Nadella on Mobility: It’s Personal

At Garner Symposium, Drue Reeves and I had the opportunity to interview Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Here’s a brief clip from the closing. I’m summarizing and Satya, passionate as he was throughout the conversation, lays out his vision about mobility that crosses the personal and professional: mobility of the individual and the app experiences. “Have my work and life wherever – that’s the true form of mobility.”

 

Microsoft’s Portfolio – A Formidable Mix

For the past few months, I’ve been Gartner’s Vendor Lead for Microsoft. For some 30 vendors, we assign a single analyst to act as a focal point for coordinating across the 1000 analysts we have when research covers that vendor.

In Microsoft’s case, that has proven to be fascinating – we have some 3 dozen Magic Quadrants alone that have been published about their offerings in the last 15 months or so. As Vendor Lead, I’m a mandatory peer reviewer for those and other documents. For my own edification, I decide to map the Magic Quadrants that feature Microsoft onto a quadrant that shows where Microsoft appears in that piece of research. The results are intriguing.

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Hadoop Investments Continue: Teradata, HP Jockey For Position

Interest from the leading players continues to drive investment in the Hadoop marketplace. This week Teradata made two acquisitions – Revelytix and Hadapt – that enrich its already sophisticated big data portfolio, while HP made a $50M investment in, and joined the board of, Hortonworks. These moves continue the ongoing effort by leading players. 4 of the top 5 DBMS players (Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Teradata) and 3 of the top 7 IT companies (Samsung, Apple, Foxconn, HP, IBM, Hitachi, Microsoft) have now made direct moves into the Hadoop space. Oracle’s recent Big Data Appliance and Big Data SQL, and Microsoft’s HDInsight represent substantial moves to target Hadoop opportunities, and these Teradata and HP moves mean they don’t want to be left behind.

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Microsoft’s New CEO – What’s Next for Microsoft?

In the most profound change of leadership in Microsoft’s history, Satya Nadella, who was head of the Cloud and Enterprise division,  has taken the helm, succeeding Steve Ballmer. Nadella’s “insider” understanding of Microsoft’s culture and his effectiveness in cross-team communication and collaboration could help him reshape Microsoft for the digital era — which will be key for the company to attain the visionary technical leadership to which it aspires.

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Hadoop Distributions And Kids’ Soccer

The big players are moving in for a piece of the big data action.  IBM, EMC, and NetApp have stepped up their messaging, in part to prevent startup upstarts like Cloudera from cornering the Apache Hadoop distribution market. They are all elbowing one another to get closest to “pure Apache” while still “adding value.” Numerous other startups have emerged, with greater or lesser reliance on, and extensions or substitutions for, the core Apache distribution. Yahoo! has found a funding partner and spun its team out, forming a new firm called Hortonworks, whose claim to fame begins with an impressive roster responsible for most of the code in the core Hadoop projects. Think of the Doctor Seuss children’s book featuring that famous elephant, and you’ll understand the name.

While we’re talking about kids – ever watch young kids play soccer? Everyone surrounds the ball. It takes years to learn their position on the field and play accordingly. There are emerging alphas, a few stragglers on the sidelines hoping for a chance to play, community participants – and a clear need for governance. Tech markets can be like that, and with 1600 attendees packing late June’s Hadoop Summit event, all of those scenarios were playing out. Leaders, new entrants, and the big silents, like the absent Oracle and Microsoft.

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Microsoft Leaps Late, Lags with SQL Server PDW

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. Read more of this post

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

Oracle’s Exadata Refresh Ups Ante on Technology and Selling Strategy

The Exadata marketing story is unrelenting, and Oracle backed it with plenty of happy customers for analysts to query at Open World this year. The stories were compelling; I’ll mention a few below. In the analyst pitch, we were shown a couple of dozen logos – good for a still relatively new high-end, long sales cycle, longer still production ramp up, product. The numbers are not Teradata rates yet, but CEO Larry Ellison claims a $1.5B pipeline.  Whether you believe it or don’t, he’s telling the world – and if he misses by much, Wall Street will spank the stock, so personally I doubt that he’s pushing too far past his real expectations. The big news, of course, was a refresh of the product itself, as Oracle gets deeper into the power of leveraging hardware and software design together. Read more of this post

Calpont’s InfiniDB – Another ADBMS Insurgent Arises

Calpont, rapidly emerging as yet another contender in the ADBMS sweepstakes, has announced version 2.0 of InfiniDB, its columnar MPP offering over shared storage. The value proposition hits now-familiar themes: high-performance query, fast data loading, data compression, and parallelized user defined functions (UDFs), all of which are becoming key checkoff capabilities. InfiniDB also hits hard on pricing, which it says dramatically undercuts that of its competitors. And a 30-day free trial of the enterprise edition sweetens the offer. For those comfortable with open source, the 2.0 release of the  community edition is available as well. Calpont says the community edition (which is limited to a single server but is otherwise database feature-complete) has had 15,000 downloads. But the company’s relationship with Oracle for its MySQL components must be considered a risk going forward.

InfiniDB, like Infobright, is built atop Oracle’s MySQL. (I posted about Infobright last year, and it also has made significant progress, drawing favorable comment in the open source community for its continuing maturation.)  Calpont’s relationship with Oracle must be seen as a risk factor..Oracle’s recent decisions about support raise questions about its interest in supporting anyone who is not an enterprise-class user of the Oracle-branded MySQL offering. Calpont has a deal through 2012 that includes an OEM license to integrate and use MySQL as the InfiniDB branded solution, and access to the MySQL channel. What will happen beyond that is clearly a concern. Read more of this post

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