May 13, 2010

SAP believes in database proliferation

For as long as we’ve had the concept of database management, there’s been a debate as to whether it is realistic for large enterprises to have a single Grand Unified Enterprise Storehouse Of All Information, or whether database proliferation actually makes sense. This argument has been particularly intense in the area of data warehouse/data marts. I’m generally on the side of data mart proliferation.

4 1/2 years ago, I noted that SAP believed strongly in database proliferation:

2. One big benefit they see to this strategy is that it reduces the need to have grand integrated databases. If one application manages data for an entity that is also important to another application, the two applications can exchange messages about the entity. Anyhow, many of their comments make it clear that, between partner company databases (a bit of a future) and legacy app databases (a very big factor in the present day), SAP is constantly aware of situations in which a single integrated database in infeasible.

4. One area where SAP definitely favors redundancy and synchronization is data warehousing. Indeed, they have an ever more elaborate staging system to move data from operational to analytic systems.

Per SAP CTO Vishal Sikka, quoted in Merv Adrian’s blog, they still do:

Last week I was at one of our largest consumer goods customers. They have 3000 data sources worldwide, and coordinating across all of them is a formidable challenge. Imagine our in-memory database sitting next to them, in hundreds of departments. To make decisions you need the data in synch in real time. We can use Sybase’s Replication Server, and event technology, to transform what companies can aspire to do.”

And by the way, MaxDB’s significant share in the SAP user base is evidence as well. (I expect that share to go to Sybase as the decade progresses.)

This all also fits well with Sybase IQ’s usage model.


3 Responses to “SAP believes in database proliferation”

  1. Mike King on May 13th, 2010 1:05 pm

    Of course they want data marts to proliferate…preferably uncontrolled. Data marts need BI tools, SAP sells BI tools…More data marts mean more software revenue for SAP. Large integrated data warehouses will lower costs, improve clarity(SVOT) & data quality, etc….

  2. Curt Monash on May 13th, 2010 2:44 pm


    Similarly, mega-corporations make the economy efficient due to their economies of scale, as do governmental initiatives.

    I.e., sometimes it works that way, sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s never 100% when it does.

  3. Quick reactions to SAP acquiring Sybase | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on May 17th, 2010 2:08 am

    […] SAP believes in database proliferation […]

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