Netezza Still Tops ADBMS Insurgents

Netezza’s 2009 so far has demonstrated that its ADBMS leadership is firming up. Several vendors have navigated a difficult year in the general economic sphere and in their own market’s quest for visibility, and Netezza has pushed forward with some aggressive moves from atop the pack. Phil Francisco, Vice President of Product Management and Product Marketing, has just come off an event swing (with Curt Monash as a keynote speaker at most.) Phil reports that the decision to take the story to the customers, instead of relying on their vanishing travel budgets to come to a centralized event, paid off well, with over 1500 interactions.

I’ve talked about the 100-customer rite of passage elsewhere; Netezza gazes down at that these days from the lofty heights of some 300 accounts now using its technology, with a steady cadence of two dozen or so new names per quarter. It certainly didn’t hurt that Gartner placed Netezza in its data warehouse DBMS Magic Quadrant leaders sector at the end of 2008, although the similar placement of DATAllegro, now owned by Microsoft, in that report raised some eyebrows, given the widespread buzz that DATAllegro seemed to have been dramatically oversold.

Gartner MQ with Netezza
Gartner MQ with Netezza

Netezza has also made great use of its own developer tools to attract those who understand the opportunity in the “processing close to the data” model that has become all the rage of late. (The MapReduce/Hadoop frenzy can be seen as a specialized case of this broader issue.) By making user-defined functions (UDFs) available at the node level, Netezza opens up the opportunity for third parties to deliver complex functionality such as data mining and rich statistical analysis with performance that “punches above its weight” in terms of machine cost.

The Netezza Developer Network is a powerful weapon to leverage all this in the competitive wars, and its success is opening up new markets for the company to sell into, such as advanced analytics and fuzzy text search. A powerful example is spatial analysis, where Netezza has emerged as a contender to Oracle, the longtime leader. The ecosystem is serving Netezza well here, especially because of its connection to new market opportunities that will be lucrative in the years ahead. But the value of building an ecosystem goes beyond leveraging technical architecture, Francisco pointed out.

Building the community was key at the beginning of the company. When we launched in 2003, there weren’t the 20 startups that came along later to compete with for mindshare. When we made an outreach call the potential partners took it – and although we had to prove ourselves, we were able to certify quickly – with BI tool vendors, for example. “

Netezza has begun to deliver on these relationships with new market initiatives like the Kona appliance built with Kalido, a pre-integrated offering that combines data sourcing, integration, and analysis atop Netezza’s new TwinFin box. (Although there was no visible marketing of it on Netezza’s own site, a missed opportunity from my perspective.) The focus extends to SI partners as well; Netezza decided early not to have its own professional services group and compete with potential partners for business. And Netezza execs participate actively in blogging and other forms of dialogue, sometimes with an edge that makes them all the more visible.

With strong results in Japan and Korea, and similarly positive activity in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, Netezza has already put in place much of the global infrastructure some of its smaller competitors are only now beginning to bake. Netezza’s future mirrors that of the analytic appliance marketplace – as it matures, there will be additional, more differentiable offerings that target multiple market sectors, in terms of both size and vertical specialization. ADBMS products will target highly specific use cases with pre-integrated features (often with specialist partners) that accelerate customers’ time to value, and Netezza’s plans, shared with me under non-disclosure, will help lead the way. Ramping up volume, and moving into additional markets, will top the plans for 2010, and Netezza plans to leverage its lead to enhance and extend its coverage.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

5 Responses to Netezza Still Tops ADBMS Insurgents

  1. I’m always shocked to see Illuminate on these MQs. I understand they have dozens of customers (Europe mostly?) but you never heard from these guys or get any numbers. Any idea who some of these folks might be?
    Thanks.

  2. Merv Adrian says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jerome. Do you mean who the customers are, or who the company people are? I know the compnay team, and I’ll post about them soon. In the meantime, if you’d like o check in with me next week, I can update you.

  3. No i know (of) Joe Foley but was more curious about customers specifically. I have yet to meet _anyone_ who heard of them, to the point where even XSPRADA had more name recognition! 🙂

  4. Merv Adrian says:

    sounds like i should talk to them about case studies 🙂

  5. Yes. See I think they’re interesting simply by virtue of the fact they don’t fit into either column or row camp with that CDBMS business of theirs. The other cool thing about their stuff (from the little I’ve seen in demos/webinars) is it’s “exploratory” from a usage-standpoint, and _that_ IMHO is really interesting. In either case, I trust you’ll give us the scoop on all of that shortly 🙂

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