At Oracle, Closed May be the New Open. Whither MySQL?

I hope I can be forgiven the cute headline. It speaks to a series of events that were heard in Oracle Open World messaging, where the word “open” appeared much less frequently than in years past. Oracle is fortifying its borders, opening new fronts in its market battles, and slowly closing itself off from some former partners and community relationships. It’s Fortress Oracle time. Its overall posture has hardened, and the implications for any but the largest MySQL customers are worrisome.

Many actions support this interpretation. The “fork you” message to Red Hat at OOW was an obvious indicator, tightening the OS play that accompanies the hardware ownership now rounding out Oracle’s full-stack story. Now, a few weeks later, Oracle’s move to drop low-end MySQL support, abandoning/conceding low-end customers to others, seems indicative both of Oracle’s willingness to move away from “open,” and to minimize investment in low-end customers. Mark Hurd is the new owner of support, and his reputation for cost-cutting should not be ignored in considering this; moreover, Windows is the majority platform for MySQL, and Oracle doesn’t want to invest there either. Read more of this post

Oracle’s High BI Bar: Managed, Multifaceted and Actionable

Oracle’s newest BI release is massive, spans multiple product categories, and raises the bar for competitors in dramatic fashion. In my prior post I focused on its rollout and competitive posture. The market has waited a long time as the reconciliation of many moving parts was accomplished – most notably the convergence of the Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) offering and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Hyperion integration with its Essbase acquisition was not complete. In 2007, OBI’s newest release (10.1.3) was most notable in many eyes for its new Microsoft Office support. PeopleSoft and Siebel had been acquired some two years before that, and Master Data Management was already a topic of discussion then (2005). There was a long way to go. And analysts? Well, think of us as the kids in the back: “Are we there yet?”

Oracle has used its time, and its $3B per year investment in R&D, well. OBIEE 11g delivers a strong base for its customers to build upon, and for its own teams to continue fleshing out a very coherent vision of ready-to-consume, actionable analytics suitable for multiple roles, on multiple platforms, across the breadth of information available. Although there is much left to do, Oracle has laid out a clear path and articulated a differentiated message that offers ample reasons for anyone on other platforms to consider OBIEE, whether or not they are an Oracle customer. For this analyst, the big wins are the Common Enterprise Information Model, The Action Framework, the strong manageability focus, unified and enhanced user interaction for report and other forms of design and delivery, and BI applications.

Read more of this post

Oracle Sets Sights on BI Leadership. Has it Picked the Right Target?

Oracle is not first in BI, and wants to change that – that was the clear message of a well executed, multi-site “real plus virtual” event with top executives showing off the result of a multi-year effort to rationalize and integrate a set of leading but overlapping components into a seamless suite. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (OBIEE) deserves the accolades it has already received from analysts who welcomed its announcement – it makes bold and serious bets on effective centralized metadata administration, data integration/ unification and optimized analytic architecture, collaboration, globalization, mobile device support, and a powerful link to action that will be most effective (unsurprisingly) with its own business applications. While it misses some pieces – fully integrated in-memory processing, SaaS and cloud support among them – these will be forthcoming, and Oracle is clearly committed to a quicker release cycle now that the thorny internal politics around legacy products seem to be resolved. But its competitive focus may be misdirected; while SAP is still ahead in market share, IBM is the bigger threat in the marketplace.

Read more of this post

Attunity – An Independent Alternative For Data Replication

Attunity (ATTUF), a small OTC-traded company out of Massachusetts, is quietly building up its base, expanding a 1000-customer foothold in real-time change data capture (CDC) and data replication that has made it one of the few remaining independent players standing. With Oracle’s acquisition of GoldenGate and SAP’s announced plan to acquire Sybase, many firms are thinking about having an alternative supplier. Attunity’s competitors these days include iWay and Progress DataDirect – few firms can offer robust support for data sources like RMS, VSAM, NonStop SQL, Enscribe and Adabas as well as common RDBMSs like DB2, SQL Server and Oracle, and that leaves Attunity a relatively wide-open opportunity. Attunity recently announced a 53% year-over-year growth in license revenues; it’s profitable (although GAAP profitability, while in sight, has yet to be achieved) and beginning to repay its debt. With less than $2M in revenues, it may well find itself an acquisition target, to boot.Attunity logo

Read more of this post

My Best Decision Today: Skipping Larry’s Fusion Speech

It’s been a good Oracle Open World so far, unless you wanted some exciting news about Fusion Apps. All the cyberworld was a-twitter (pun intended) about that during the run-up to the event. If that’s what you wanted, sorry – the payoff couldn’t have been flatter if the Governator had run over it with one of his Hummers. (More likely his wife would have done it while illegally talking on her cell phone.) There was a great theme this year: “Come With Questions. Leave With Answers.” Yup. And the answer was: “Wait till next year.” Read more of this post

GoldenGate Software Buy a Win for Oracle

Oracle today announced it is buying GoldenGate Software for an undisclosed sum, likely a couple of hundred million dollars. To revisit some facts from an earlier post, Goldengate had been in business 15 years, with some 500 customers, 4000 solutions deployed, and strong partnerships with Oracle, Teradata and Ingres on the database side, and Microstrategy and Amdocs in the app and BI space. Their message revolved around 3 key attributes of their changed-data-based replication technology: heterogeneity, real-time (log-based) performance, and high-volume transactional support. Read more of this post

Informatica, Strong Through Tough Times, Looks Ahead

Not everyone in the software industry is suffering. Informatica Q2 revenues were $117.3 million, up 3% year over year, and license revenues for the second quarter were $48.7 million, relatively flat. That makes 19 quarters in a row – very impressive. Informatica added 65 customers in the quarter and now claims nearly 3800, with wins in multiple geographies.  Read more of this post

Can GoldenGate Software Continue to Grow Transactional Replication?

GoldenGate Software may not be a well-known name, except in circles where transactional replication is a hot topic, but after 15 years in business, they have assembled a sizable base of some 500 customers, with 4000 solutions deployed, and partnerships with vendors as diverse as Teradata and Ingres on the database side, and Microstrategy and Amdocs in the app and BI space. Their message revolves around 3 key attributes of their changed-data-based replication technology: heterogeneity, real-time (log-based) performance, and high-volume transactional support (committed only.) And despite their notoriously closed-mouthed approach to their finances, it’s fair to say that they are generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue yearly (Hoover’s says $9.7M in 2007, but I believe that’s very low), so it’s evident the marketplace is interested. The big question is whether GoldenGate will invest to sustain and grow sales, or watch larger competitors competitors take their market away, now that they’re on the radar. Read more of this post

Ralph Kimball’s TDWI Crowd Shows DW & BI are Thriving

The economy may be challenging, but 100 attendees on a weekday afternoon in San Francisco proved that there is plenty of interest in data warehousing. The Silicon Valley Chapter of the Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) drew a sizable, energetic group to its quarterly meeting.

No doubt the presence of Ralph Kimball, a seminal and influential thinker, had a lot to do with the success, Read more of this post