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

Aster Data Systems: Specialty DBMSs Will Change the Market

In a market suddenly awash with new analytic DBMS entrants, Aster Data Systems differentiates itself with an aggressive posture: in-database computations, MapReduce integration and commodity hardware. Like several other firms I’ve talked to recently, the San Carlos-based vendor has a Big Customer (mySpace), a Recent Launch (May 2008) and a Core Team of Hotshots with industry experience. They have been quick out of the gate, and boast 15 customers who are tackling “frontline data warehousing” for problems they could not solve any other way.

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What To Expect at Sapphire? Breya Hints At BO-BWA Connection

IT Market Strategy recently sat down with Marge Breya, Executive Vice President & GM Intelligence Platform & NetWeaver of SAP BusinessObjects, to discuss the first full year of life within SAP after being acquired at the beginning of 2008. Breya oversees full product line responsibility for BI and information management  solutions, as well as the company’s OnDemand business. In addition, Breya is responsible for solution management of SAP NetWeaver within the Technology Group at SAP AG. Prior to joining SAP via the Business Objects acquisition, Breya served in a number of executive roles at BEA Systems, where she was senior vice president (SVP), CMO, and chief strategy officer (CSO); and Sun Microsystems, where she served in various executive management roles. In this excerpt form our conversation, the discussion turned to how the BO portfolio and the SAP portfolio would combine for greater leverage.

You’re busy right now thinking about the developmental opportunities for how [your] portfolios work together. Read more of this post

Birst Hopes to Ride On-Demand BI Wave

Birst CEO Brad Peters checked in with IT Market Strategy to update us on the most recent developments in the on-demand BI market. They’ve been busy; when we last talked in January, Birst had just hired Randi DiPrima to head up a global partners program, and a significant new round of financing was freshly deposited. 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.