Way back in the 1970s, a huge fraction of analytic database management was done via timesharing, specifically in connection with the RAMIS and FOCUS business-intelligence-precursor fourth-generation languages. (Both were written by Gerry Cohen, who built his company Information Builders around the latter one.) The market for remoting-computing business intelligence has never wholly gone away since. Indeed, it’s being revived now, via everything from the analytics part of Salesforce.com to the service category I call data mart outsourcing.
Less successful to date are efforts in the area of pure database software-as-a-service. It seems that if somebody is going for SaaS anyway, they usually want a more complete, integrated offering. The most noteworthy exceptions I can think of to this general rule are Kognitio and Vertica, and they only have a handful of database SaaS customers each. To wit:
1. Kognitio has built a lot of its marketing around database SaaS, which it calls DaaS for data-as-a-service, and runs primarily from its own facility. On a small sample size, it reports a very roughly 50-50 split in new business activity (that’s customers/prospects, not revenue) between DaaS and conventionally licensed software.
2. Vertica has expressed high hopes for its Amazon cloud offering. Actual production usage has so far only matched part of that, but it isn’t exactly zero either. Specifically, marketing chief Dave Menninger writes by email:
In addition to approximately a dozen POCs running on the cloud at any point in time we have five customers using the cloud on a regular basis. Three of these customers do short lived projects so they start up instances, run them for the duration of a project, and shut them down. They are three different types of orgs: govt agency, pharma consulting org and SaaS provider.
Two financial services companies use the cloud as spare resource/capacity. When they need additional computing resource or capacity they will temporarily move some projects onto the cloud with the anticipation of moving them back off once the capacity constraint is relieved (new hardware arrives, other projects or systems come to an end, etc.
3. 1010data offers its data warehousing product by remote service only. However, unlike Gartner I’m not totally convinced 1010data should be regarded as comparable to DBMS vendors; perhaps it’s more like a SaaS business intelligence provider.
- A comment below says Gerry Cohen wrote Nomad too.
- Kognitio commented on Twitter that they actually use DaaS to mean Data warehouse As A Service.