Multi-Tenant DWs: Sybase IQ Defends its Analytic DBMS Turf

Sometimes Sybase IQ seems like the Rodney Dangerfield of analytic DBMSs (ADBMS) – no respect. The pioneering column-based DBMS first shipped in 1995, shipped release 15 at the end of Q1, and has 1650 customers. But all the noise seems to be about more recent entrants these days, and Sybase is stepping up to change that. The market is moving into their sweet spot, Sybase believes, as Web 2.0 applications routinely bypass the traditional RDBMS technology leaders in favor of specialized alternative approaches. [disclosure: 15 years ago, I was involved in the launch of IQ.]

Sybase is seeing more of its customers moving to “multi-application” installations, a step short of enterprise data warehouses. I like to think of them as multi-tenant data warehouses, albeit internal multiples, as additional requirements for analytics applications emerge in its customer base and the power of incumbency begins to tell. Its competition is trying to pick off one app at a time, so Sybase is moving to raise the bar.

The focus of the sales team has moved to exploiting opportunities in the customer base, and launching its most aggressive new customer acquisition effort in years. Marketing Director Dan Lahl says Sybase is hitting its numbers. And at long last, Sybase is ramping up its partner program for systems integrators , storage manufacturers and BI front end vendors, has moved to adopt pricing that captures the value of its data compression, and is touting a raft of new features.

Sybase IQ 15 was announced in February 2009 and shipped at the end of March.  The IQ story has always been about performance, and release 15 added better parallelism to its query optimizer and its indexing to make better use of available memory, workload management to exploit available system resources, and improved write coordination and performance for multi-node sites (again, something their more mature customers are adopting as they aggressively ramp scale.) It also added improved configurability and management features and incorporated more security capabilities – support for the FIPS standard, Kerberos and IPV6.

But it’s not stopping there. Keeping up the cadence, Sybase is about to launch another version just one quarter on, with a marquee event at the NY Stock Exchange where its strongest core of customers does business. IT Market Strategy expects to see new features, new partners, more offerings targeted at small businesses and something else: a new attitude. More releases will follow later this year. Sybase is no longer on the defensive; the offense is taking the field. It’s on.

Published by Merv Adrian

Independent information technology market analyst and consultant, 40 years of industry experience, covering software in and around the data management space.

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