February 22nd, 2013 — Data management
Aster Discovery. Delphix and SAP. Hadoop use-cases. And more.
And that’s the data day, today.
October 30th, 2012 — Data management
Pentaho raises $23m. Exploring CAP Theorem. And more.
And that’s the Data Day, today.
October 2nd, 2012 — Data management
Informatica buys Heiler. Objectivity updates graph database. And more.
And that’s the Data Day, today.
July 18th, 2012 — Data management
Basho enters Japan. US Senate/NSA open source policy and NoSQL design brouhaha.
And that’s the Data Day, today.
July 28th, 2011 — Data management, M&A
When I was messing around with Indeed.com job trends the other day I was struck by an interesting trend relating to the five recent major M&A deals involving analytic database vendors: Netezza, Sybase, Greenplum, Vertica and Aster Data.
The trends aren’t immediately obvious from that chart, but if we break them out individually and add a black dot to indicate the approximate date of the acquisition announcement it all becomes clear.
(Note: scale varies from chart to chart)
While the acquisitions have accelerated job postings for all acquired analytic databases, Greenplum has clearly been the biggest beneficiary. Indeed.com’s data also explains why this might be: EMC/Greenplum is responsible for over 50% of the current Greenplum-related job postings on the site (excluding recruiter postings).
Greenplum had 140 employees when it was acquired in July 2010. Based on the hiring growth illustrated above, EMC’s Data Computing Products Division is set to reach 650 by the end of the year.
Netezza started with a much larger base, but IBM is expected to increase headcount at Netezza from 500 in September 2010 to a target of 800 by year-end. Thanks, no doubt, to Netezza’s larger installed base, IBM is responsible for just 7.7% of Netezza job postings.
This highlights something we recently noted in a 451 Group M&A Insight report: in order to make a considerable dent in the dominance of the big four, any acquiring company will not only have to buy a data-warehousing player but also invest in its growth.
While Vertica and Aster Data are both heading in the right direction, we believe that HP and Teradata will have to accelerate their investment in the Vertica subsidiary and the new Aster Data ‘center of excellence’ respectively.
HP recently told us headcount has grown about 40% since the acquisition (it wasn’t being specific, but Vertica reported 100 employees in January). HP/Vertica is currently responsible for 13.9% for Vertica-related job postings on Indeed.com
We had speculated that Teradata would need to similarly boost the headcount at Aster Data beyond the estimated 100 employees. Teradata/Aster Data is responsible for 24% of job postings for Aster Data.
But what of Sybase? While Sybase IQ also has a larger installed base, SAP/Sybase are responsible for just 6.4% of the Sybase IQ-related job postings on Indeed.com. The Sybase IQ chart illustrates some common sense investment advice: the value of your investment can go down as well as up.
March 3rd, 2011 — Text analysis
On Tuesday March 8 I’m doing a webinar along with Isys Search Software and Sybase about text-aware applications. The full title is “Text-Aware Software Solutions: What Defines Excellence?”
‘Text-aware applications’ is a phrase we coined back in 2005 as part of the process of writing a major report on the subject in which we looked at the various application areas (CRM, ERP, BI etc) that could benefit from a deep understanding of unstructured data.
As the first key finding from the report said:
The future success of companies and organizations will increasingly be based on their ability to unlock hidden intelligence and value from unstructured data, and text in particular.
The webinar on March 8 looks at the role of document filters in making applications text-aware, which is something I’ve talked about here before.
It’s at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm UK. You can register here.
May 20th, 2010 — Data management, M&A
SAP faces a number of challenges to make the most of its proposed $5.8bn acquisition of Sybase, not the least of which being that the company’s core enterprise applications do not currently run on Sybase’s database software.
As we suggested last week that should be pretty easy to fix technically, but even if SAP gets its applications, BI software and data warehousing products up and running on Sybase ASE and IQ in short-order, it still faces a challenge to persuade the estimated two-third of SAP users that run on an Oracle database to deploy Sybase for new workloads, let alone migrate existing deployments.
Even if SAP were to bundle ASE and IQ at highly competitive rates (which we expect it to do) it will have a hard time convincing die-hard Oracle users to give up on their investments in Oracle database administration skills and tools. As Hasso Plattner noted yesterday, “they do not want to risk what they already have.”
Hasso was talking about the migration from disk-based to in-memory databases, and that is clearly SAP’s long-term goal, but even if we “assume for a minute that it really works” as Hasso advised, they is going to be a long-term period where SAP’s customers are going to remain on disk-based databases, and SAP is going to need to move at least some of those to Sybase to prove the wisdom of the acquisition.
A solution may have appeared today from an unlikely source, with IBM’s release of DB2 SQL Skin for Sybase ASE, a new feature for its DB2 database product that provides compatibility with applications developed for Sybase’s Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database. Most Sybase applications should be able to run on DB2 unchanged, according to the companies, while users are also able to retain their Sybase database tools, as well as their administration skills.
That may not sound like particularly good news for SAP or Sybase, but the underlying technology could be an answer to its problems. DB2 SQL Skin for Sybase ASE was developed with ANTs Software and is based on its ANTs Compatibility Server (ACS).
ACS is not specific to DB2. It is designed to is designed to support the API language of an application written for one database and translate to the language of the new database – and ANTs maintains that re-purposing the technology to support other databases is a matter of metadata changes. In fact the first version of ACS, released in 2008, targeted migration from Sybase to Oracle databases.
Sybase should be pretty familiar with ANTs. In 2008 it licensed components of the company’s ANTs Data Server (ADS) real-time database product (now FourJ’s Genero db), while also entering into a partnership agreement to create a version of ACS that would enable migrations from Microsoft’s SQL Server to Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise and Sybase IQ (451 Group coverage).
That agreement was put on hold when ANTs’ IBM opportunity arose, and while ANTs is likely to have its hands full dealing with IBM migration projects, we would not be surprised to see Sybase reviving its interest in a version that targets Oracle.
It might not reduce the time it takes to port SAP to Sybase – it would take time to create a version of ACS for Oracle-Sybase migrations (DB2 SQL Skin for Sybase was in development and testing for most of 2009) – but it would potentially enable SAP to deploy Sybase databases for new workloads without asking its users to retool and re-train.
May 14th, 2010 — Data management, M&A
The 451 Group has published its take on the proposed acquisition of Sybase by SAP. The full report provides details on the deal, valuation and timing, as well as assessing the rationale and competitive impact in three core areas: data management, mobility, and applications.
As a taster, here’s an excerpt from our view of the deal from a database perspective:
The acquisition of Sybase significantly expands SAP’s interests in database technology, and the improved ability of the vendor to provide customers with an alternative to rival Oracle’s database products is, alongside mobile computing, a significant driver for the deal. Oracle and SAP have long been rivals in the enterprise application space, but Oracle’s dominance in the database market has enabled it to wield significant influence over SAP accounts. For instance, Oracle claims to be the most popular database for deploying SAP, and that two-thirds of all SAP customers run on Oracle Database. Buying a database platform of its own will enable SAP to break any perceived dependence on its rival, although this is very much a long-term play: Sybase’s database business is tiny compared to Oracle, which reported revenue from new licenses for database and middleware products of $1.2bn in the third quarter alone.
The long-term acquisition focus is on the potential for in-memory database technology, which has been a pet project for SAP cofounder and supervisory board chairman Hasso Plattner for some time. As the performance of systems hardware has improved, it is now possible to run more enterprise workloads in memory, rather than on disk. By using in-memory database technology, SAP is aiming to improve the performance of its transactional applications and BI software while also hoping to leapfrog rival Oracle, which has its disk-based database installed base to protect. Sybase also has a disk-based database installed base, but has been actively exploring in-memory database technology, and SAP can arguably afford to be much more aggressive about a long-term in-memory vision since its reliance on that installed base is much less than Sybase’s or Oracle’s.
SAP has already delivered columnar in-memory database technology to market via its Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) hardware-based acceleration engine and the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer data-exploration tool. Sybase has also delivered in-memory database technology for its transactional ASE database with the release of version 15.5 earlier this year. By acquiring Sybase, SAP has effectively delivered on Plattner’s vision of in-memory databases for both analytical and transaction processing, albeit with two different products. At this stage, it appears that SAP’s in-memory functionality will quickly be applied to the IQ analytic database while ASE will retain its own in-memory database features. Over time, expect R&D to focus on delivering column-based in-memory database technology for both operational and analytic workloads.
In addition, SAP touted the applicability of its in-memory database technology to Sybase’s complex-event-processing (CEP) technology and Risk Analytics Platform (RAP). Sybase was already planning to replicate the success of RAP in other verticals following its acquisition of CEP vendor Aleri in February, and we would expect SAP to accelerate that.
Meanwhile, SAP intends to continue to support databases from other vendors. In the short term, this will be a necessity since SAP’s application software does not currently run on Sybase’s databases. Technically, this should be easy to overcome, although clearly it will take time, and we would expect SAP to encourage its application and BI customers to move to Sybase ASE and IQ for new deployments in the long term. One of the first SAP products we would expect to see ported to Sybase IQ is the NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) model-driven data-warehouse environment. SAP’s own MaxDB is currently the default database for BW, although it enables deployment to Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MaxDB, Teradata and Hewlett-Packard’s Neoview. Expect IQ to be added to that list sooner rather than later, and to potentially replace MaxDB as the default database.
I have some views on how SAP could accelerate the migration of its technology and users to Sybase’s databases but – for reasons that will become apparent – they will have to wait until next week.
February 1st, 2010 — Data management
Marc Adler and Marco Seiriö seem to think so.
Such a deal would seem a little strange coming less than a year after Sybase licensed the underlying complex event processing (CEP) engine for Sybase CEP from Coral8, immediately prior to Coral8′s acquisition by Aleri.
The terms of that licensing agreement provide a clue as to why Sybase would consider opening up its wallet again to snap up Aleri, however.
As Aleri insisted last March, “The licensing arrangement allows Sybase to embed CEP capabilities within and ONLY WITHIN Sybase products such as RAP”.
Sybase later confirmed (clients only) to us that this was indeed the arrangement and maintained that its strategy for CEP was to embed it within larger platform products.
As well as RAP – The Trading Edition, the company’s risk-analytics platform, Sybase also had plans to target opportunities in the telecommunications, healthcare and government sectors.
One justification for the acquisition of Aleri would be that it would allow Sybase to target those markets and other opportunities with a standalone CEP offering based on Aleri’s next-generation engine codenamed Ohio which is slated for roll-out in 2010 and is designed to include the best features from Aleri Streaming Platform and the Coral8 Engine and be backwards-compatible with both.
Then of course there are the Aleri/Coral assets beyond the core CEP engine, including the Aleri Studio visual modeling application, as well as dashboard and OLAP server capabilities, and packaged applications for risk and liquidity analysis and management.
As for why Aleri would sell out to Sybase – we certainly noted some trepidation from the company when we caught up (clients only) in September last year. While the company was buoyant about its plans for Ohio it was reticent to discuss details of customer wins/successes.
The only thing the company would say was that it had more than 80 customers, the number of combined customers when the merger closed.
At that point it was somewhat more confident, claiming (clients only) to be the largest pure-play CEP vendor in terms of headcount and customer base and revenue (although with none of the CEP vendors disclosing revenue figures, that last claim was always highly debatable).
March 17th, 2009 — Data management
And then there were four again. Sybase’s announcement of its new complex event processing product is interesting, not least since it sheds some new light on the merger of Aleri and Coral8.
Sybase had previously hedged its bets on CEP by partnering with Aleri, StreamBase and Coral8, although we suspected that wouldn’t last forever. Rather than acquire a CEP vendor, the announcement provides a clue that Sybase has elected to license the technology for its new Sybase CEP product from Coral8: “SQL-like CCL language for application development”.
When Marc at the Magmasystem blog noted that “a large database company had purchased a source code license for Coral8″ Sybase was always the likely candidate, and that deal no doubt had a significant influence on Coral’s decision to sell and Aleri’s decision to buy.
Coral8 is the complementary choice given its focus outside Sybase’s preliminary target of financial services (only 45% of Coral8′s customers are in capital markets), although Coral8′s recent acquisition by Aleri means Sybase will be using the CEP technology to compete directly with its new owner.
I am still somewhat surprise that Sybase decided it didn’t want the technology and sales expertise that it would have got from an acquisition rather than a licensing deal, especially since Sybase also plans to use the CEP technology to target the telecommunications, healthcare and government sectors.
Additionally, Aleri insists that “The licensing arrangement allows Sybase to embed CEP capabilities within and ONLY WITHIN Sybase products such as RAP. Sybase is NOT allowed to offer or sell a standalone CEP product. A Sybase customer can use the embedded CEP engine ONLY within Sybase RAP.”