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

Kalido “Cascades” Continue Cadence on Designed DW Development

Kalido‘s ongoing evangelization of automation for governed, designed data warehouses has delivered fine results for the small, Massachusetts-based firm. In a recent conversation, the team shared recent results: a profitable fiscal year, with a Q4 that was up 35% and momentum that carried into the traditionally slow Q1 with 25% year over year growth. Since I last discussed Kalido at the time of its virtual conference a year ago, new name sales in the US and Europe as well as add-on business in existing accounts are a healthy sign . New partnerships, new data source support,  and a new release all are likely to sustain and even increase the momentum in the  autumn and winter selling seasons. Read more of this post

Sybase SQL Anywhere 12 Extends Mobile Leadership

In my coverage of SAP’s Sybase acquisition, I noted that SQL Anywhere is a best kept secret among more than 20,000 developers who relish its ease of embedding and minimal database administration. Now Sybase is about to release its next version, SQL Anywhere 12, with ambitions to add to its claimed ten million users worldwide using SQL Anywhere-powered applications. Geospatial features, key to mobile applications, will feature prominently. Read more of this post

Initiate Acquisition, InfoSphere Business Information Monitor Intro Punctuate IBM’s Information Governance Launch

IBM chose a regular meeting of its Data Governance Council to launch a series of now-renamed Information Governance services and products and announce a definitive agreement to acquire Initiate Systems. A privately held software vendor based in Chicago, Illinois, Initiate stands as IBM’s 30th acquisition in the information and analytics sector. Initiate’s data integrity software for information sharing is designed to help health care clients work more intelligently and efficiently by supporting timely access to patient and clinical data. It also enables governments to share client information across multiple agencies to better serve citizens.

This post was co-authored by Merv Adrian and Charles King of PUND-IT. It’s a little more narrative than my usual posts (and longer), and is reproduced here in the form it appeared in the PUND-IT newsletter. Read more of this post

Kalido Virtual Conference Scores Big

I’ve been critical of virtual conferences in the past, but I just saw the future, and it works. Kalido, a relatively small vendor, has demonstrated that careful preparation, serious commitment, and the right team can allow smaller firms to “punch above their weight,” putting on an event that captures great leads, promotes and sustains community, collects requirements for future product development in a participatory model, and satisfies partners with an event that costs a fraction of the in-person kind.  If you’re not familiar with Kalido, they deliver what they like to call a fully governed data warehouse, a suite of modeling, governance (including MDM) and model-driven DW automation tools that have been adopted by over 85 enterprise customers.