IBM’s Smart Analytics System: More Than An Appliance?

When is an appliance not an appliance? When it’s more. On July 28, IBM’s Software Group and Systems and Technology Group (i.e., the hardware folks) hosted an analyst event to introduce the Smart Analytics System.The discussion began with a series of conversations about the value of “workload optimization,” or the effective tuning of processors, storage, memory and network components with software used for information management.  Not controversial, but hardly news. IBM claims to be raising the bar, though, with the promise of a system that is already tuned, and attuned to the needs of its purchaser, at a level far beyond appliances that other vendors have delivered: appliances, if you will, not only predesigned for specific use cases, but customized for specific instances of those use cases. It’s no accident that IBM never called the Smart Analytics System an “appliance.” Extending the Smart brand here is a powerful move, and IBM appears poised to make good on its promise. Read more of this post

Information Builders Prepares to Ramp It Up

The last couple of years for Information Builders (IBI) have been a mixed bag. On the one hand, WebFocus, their flagship BI offering, has received stellar reviews, getting top marks from Gartner and Forrester in published research. On the other hand, growth stalled and sputtered a bit for the past year or two, and then the economy went south. But a strong new management focus, the clearing of the field as other leading independent BI vendors were acquired, and some timely new product introductions have set the table for a new surge by the New York-based vendor.Logo_IB_3015 Read more of this post

Interview: SAP BusinessObjects’ Marge Breya Celebrates Progress and Anticipates Accelerated Growth

marge-breya_cSAP BusinessObjects Executive Vice President & GM Intelligence & Netweaver Marge Breya recently sat down with IT Market Strategy to discuss the first full year of life within SAP. That interview is excerpted here; Breya gives a flavor of the challenges and opportunities that faced the newly acquired company, and her enthusiasm about their success so far was palpable. Read more of this post

IBM InfoSphere Now Supports Informix and z

IBM’s InfoSphere Data Warehouse has been a steady growth asset. As IBM has created and acquired pieces of the infrastructure and progressively created a more complete, end-to-end offering, it has continued to add new customers to (and from) one of the largest installed bases in the world. In reviewing 2008, IBM CFO  Mark Loughridge asserted compound growth of 18% since 2006. For 2008 the claim is 100 more transactions, and 50 InfoSphere customers new to DB2 while in Q4 “distributed (non-mainframe) DB2″grew at 30% growth in constant currency terms. Read more of this post

Dataupia – Optimism for 2009

I recently had the chance to chat with John O’Brien, CTO and co-founder of MPP data warehouse appliance vendor Dataupia (pronounced like “utopia”). He was in an upbeat mood, as the company leverages the recent addition to its B round of financing secured late last year to drive business to the next level. With a new CEO (former Cognos senior vice president of world operations Tony Sirianni), a growing number of references, prospects turning into customers, and OEM partners supplementing its growing direct sales force, prospects appear good. Now fielding some 60 employees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dataupia can press their value proposition of being “well matched to prospects’ needs for lower price, flexibility, and minimal execution costs for changing or supplementing existing architectures.”

Dataupia is climbing the scale lists – its largest install is 150 TB at Subex, hosting an OSS system for British Telecom. Marketing VP Samantha Stone has begun to push out press releases touting customer wins, always an encouraging sign. The wins in telecom are being supplemented by opportunities in other spaces such as the intriguing traffic information analysis system at ITIS (details on the company’s web site). New solution categories highlight the emerging opportunities that follow an economic change like the one appliances are driving. “We’ve taken another zero off the cost,” says O’Brien. “Now it’s a matter of only a few tens of thousands to get started on applications that seemed out of reach before for many firms.”

O’Brien believes that a key differentiator is that customers don’t connect to Dataupia directly, but through their primary platform: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and now IBM DB2 (although no production references for the latter are available yet.) “When customers hit a pain point, architecture is a constraint for other DBMSs. We appear to be a data store for that database, so the style of application design and usage doesn’t need to change.” Dataupia can use transactional tables from the primary DBMS  – their optimizers sit atop its added one.  Multidimensional aggregates can replace materialized views. So, “agility” becomes a key message. Teardown and reconfiguration are easier, hence faster and cheaper. Less DBA optimization time and quick install are powerful value propositions.

To get to the next level, Dataupia will have to add some features: replication, disaster recovery and internationalization top customer wish lists. As Dataupia turns its sights from getting early reference customers to using its improving finances to drive growth, its more formalized structure and sales processes should help it move towards another financing round as the economy turns upward next year. Then, O’Brien asserts, the firm will aspire to much more rapid expansion.