IBM Gets Feisty — Mobilizes Analytics for Oracle Battle

In July 2009, IBM announced the Smart Analytics System 7600, a workload-optimized, pre-integrated bundle of hardware and software targeted at the business analytics market. Included in that package are an IBM POWER 550 running AIX, storage, plus InfoSphere Warehouse Enterprise Edition (which consists of DB2, Warehouse design and management tools + Cubing, Data Mining and Text Analytics services), and Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, configured and tuned, and “health check” features. Accommodations are made if the customer already has licensed some of the software and wants to use it on the platform; in this sense, the software is described as “optional.” This month, IBM broadened the story and upped the ante, making Smart Analytics System a key weapon in its widening battle with Oracle.

This post is a slightly updated version of a piece that appeared in the PUND-IT newsletter. Read more of this post

Oracle Ups EPM Ante

After a 2 year wait, Oracle is rolling out some fruits of its daunting integration efforts in enterprise performance applications. New suite bundles, an Essbase connector and Hyperion uplift are highlights of its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 11.1.2 release. The numbering scheme, evidently constrained by the overall Oracle level 11 nomenclature, drove the understated “11.1.2” moniker, but make no mistake, this is a major thrust – delivered in 15 languages and with a new focus on role-based thinking. The task-specific and vertical themes that dominate developments in enterprise applications were on display here as Oracle delivered Financial Close Management, Disclosure Management, and Public Sector Planning and Budgeting applications atop the Fusion Middleware platform that is the basis for further product portfolio integration in the quarters ahead. The architectural value of the Business Intelligence Foundation here cannot be overstated; Oracle is delivering on a well-thought-out model that facilitates a steady growth in product opportunities that will drive incremental revenues. Read more of this post

IBM’s OPAL – Open Treasure or Hidden Riches?

by Charles Brett, President of C3B Consulting and Publisher of INSIGHT-SPECTRA

IT software customers live in an increasingly expensive world. CIOs worry and worry still more as the escalating cost of software licenses and consequent maintenance consumes a greater and greater portion of their budgets. Towering above even these concerns, in C3B Consulting’s experience, is the trauma and cost of integrating disparate pieces of software, particularly middleware, into operations management.

IBM offers customers one approach to this in the form of an extensive library of over 1850 — often free — ‘integrations’ that can be obtained over the Web. This library rejoices in the name OPAL (standing for Open Process Automation Library), which can be found at 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, 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

Programmers: Pervasive’s Parallelization Provides Punch, Profit

After 27 years of steady growth, Austin, Texas-based Pervasive (PVSW) has become a $47M annual run rate software provider. Its portfolio includes a “zero admin, light footprint database” (the former BTrieve, now PervasiveSQL), data integration software (for SaaS and on premises applications), and data synchronization products for such apps as, Quickbooks and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In 2009, it began leveraging its DataRush processing engine as a product, providing a solution for companies that want to take advantage of multicore architectures to drive dramatically enhanced performance on much smaller footprints, for programming data services tasks such as aggregation, de-duplication, cleansing, integration, matching and sorting, as well as data mining and predictive analytics. Read more of this post

Sybase Will Step Up In-Memory Message With New Release

Sybase has quietly racked up a string of successful growth years, riding its pioneering status in commercial analytic databases (ADBMS) and holding on to its loyal base in everyday DBMS after being elbowed aside by Oracle a decade ago. Its steady market performance has not been driven by dramatic innovations: Sybase has seemed to lag the Big Three (Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) in new feature/function. But it has innovated: IQ has grown into a key revenue source, and Sybase RAP has established itself as one of the more successful event processing offerings, with a string of Wall Street customers creating a new class of applications.

In the current (5-year-old) major release level of its flagship Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) product, Sybase has added user-defined SQL functions, support for plugin Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and JVM components, xml tables, SQL statement replication, new statistical aggregate functions, and a shared disk cluster edition. And now, Sybase is about to add new in-memory database capabilities and step up its support for external storage management. I’ve spent some time recently with the Sybase team to discuss their plans for the upcoming 15.5 release (currently available in a developer version), and found palpable excitement about the possibilities of their new work. Read more of this post

Additional Caveats Obscure Oracle’s TPC Benchmark

Since my piece on Oracle’s recent TPC-C was posted, interesting emails have pointed me to additional price/performance data, and I thought I’d offer a bit of that to my readers. One of the more interesting came from the admittedly biased Conor O’Mahony, a DB2 product manager for IBM. In his blog, Conor points out some interesting elements to Oracle’s pricing and support for the system tested. To wit: “the IBM result includes pricing for 24×7 support, upgrade protection, and perpetual licenses; the Oracle result does not include any of these features.” It turns out that Oracle uses a less costly, 3 year term license for the benchmark. After 3 years, the user has to re-up (or just buy a regular license.) The support piece is equally interesting; Oracle’s Incident Support offering – with up to 10 Web-based incident requests per server and no phone support or future upgrades – is used for the benchmark system pricing. Read more of this post

IBM Showcases Software Vision and Hadoop Research

At IBM’s 8th annual Connect meeting with analysts, Steve Mills, Senior VP and Group Executive, had much to crow about. Software is the engine driving IBM’s profitability, anchoring its customer relationships, and enabling the vaulting ambition to drive the company’s Smarter Planet theme into the boardroom. Mills’ assets are formidable: 36 labs worldwide have more than 100 SW developers each, plus 49 more with over 20 – 25,000 developers in all. Mills showcased all this in a matter-of-fact, businesslike fashion with minimal hype and little competitor bashing. A research project aimed at extending Hadoop usage to a broader audience was among the highlights.  Read more of this post

Will AEP Replace RDBMS? A Dialogue With Charles Brett

Analytic Event Processing (AEP) is hot. But does it mean RDBMS begins to decline in importance? Charles Brett of C3B Consulting and I recently had a quick dialogue about it and came up with different conclusions. That conversation is reproduced here. It’s only the beginning – l hope you will weigh in with your thoughts. Read more of this post

The Return of Spectra

Years ago, I spent some time covering the middleware market closely. One of the resources I found enormously valuable was a publication called Middleware Spectra. Its founder and editor, Charles Brett, is one of the most insightful, and  often provocative, people I know. Over the years we became acquainted, and today I count him among the friends I rely on to help me understand deep issues in areas like complex event processing and similar topics.

Charles and I briefly worked together at Forrester, but we’ve both moved on, and he’s now revived Spectra, with a revised charter. Under the new name Insight Spectra, it aims to be “a focal point for applying common sense to using technology intelligently.” Radical thought indeed. As before, Charles will accept contributions from a number of industry participants (myself included) and I recommend his work highly. To get on his list and receive it electronically, go to and register yourself via a form at the foot of this page, or email Charles directly at to ask for a copy.