August 4, 2010

ANTs Software CEO insults Sybase, claims migration success

Edit: ANTs Software seems to have subsequently collapsed, which may be why some of these links broke too.

Jeff Pryslak of Sybase put up a post insulting ANTs Software and the general idea of ANTs-aided Sybase-to-DB2 migration. CEO Joe Kozak of ANTs hit back with a rambling diatribe, which came to my attention because he mentioned my name in it, making some rather fanciful remarks about the “long” relationship I used to have with ANTs Software. (I do recall at least one briefing, plus some attempts from them to buy my services under the condition that I agree to a ridiculous NDA, which I refused to sign.)

This piqued my interest, so — recalling that ANTs is a public company — I decided to take a look at just how successful their software products business is. Well, for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, ANTs’ 10-Q filing says (emphasis mine): 

The Company’s revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2009 include service revenues representing managed and professional service fees for database and network maintenance and support services. Revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2010 were $1.5 million, an increase of $0.1 million compared to $1.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2009.  For the three months ended March 31, 2010, two customers accounted for 96% of the Company’s gross revenues (Company A, 72% and Company B, 24%) compared to three customers that accounted for 97% of the Company’s gross revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2009 (Company A, 57%, Company B, 29% and Company C, 10%). The increase in revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2010 over the comparable period in 2009 is primarily attributable to professional service projects for Company A that were initiated during or subsequent to the three months ended March 31, 2009, partially offset by professional service projects for Company B and Company C that were completed subsequent to March 31, 2009.

Conditional on the Company’s technology developments being successful, the presence of customer demand and the Company having a competitive advantage, future revenues may include sales and licenses of its ANTs Compatibility Server (“ACS”) product and managed services revenue related to existing and new contracts and professional services revenue from pre- and post-sales consulting related to ACS and other database consolidation technologies. Sales of the Company’s first ACS product, which translates from Sybase to Oracle, have been limited due to the structure of the sales arrangement and go-to-market strategy. As such, the Company has structured the go-to-market strategy for the second ACS product differently via the use of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) agreement. Pursuant to the OEM agreement, ANTs is responsible for technology development specifically tailored to the OEM’s needs. The OEM will assume responsibility for marketing, sales and support of the technology on a worldwide basis, while ANTs will be the preferred service provider for migration projects. The Company is currently in the process of developing the second ACS product for a planned announcement and release in mid-2010. The Company intends to develop additional ACS products based on market demand and the availability of resources for development.

In other words, as of four months ago ANTs had had $0 in business in what it says is its main product area, which is pretty much the range the company has been in throughout its complicated history.  Kozak’s post did link to a claim that IBM has experienced over 300 migrations to DB2. However, that figure includes Oracle-to-DB2 migrations that having nothing to do with ANTs. And by the way, IBM’s migration strategy is focused largely on ISVs, so the whole Sybase-ANTs dust-up may be about a type of business (direct capture by DB2 of Sybase ASE enterprise customers) nobody’s sales force is seriously pursuing.

True, the Sybase-to-DB2 emulation technology hadn’t been released as of then. Even so, I think it’s a wee bit early for ANTs to be acting as if there’s been any proof it ever has had or will have any significant market success.


9 Responses to “ANTs Software CEO insults Sybase, claims migration success”

  1. brad on August 4th, 2010 11:16 am

    Question – Would your defense of Sybase be a good example of the “Monash Advantage” service for which Sybase has subscribed?

  2. Monash Bully on August 4th, 2010 1:45 pm

    Mr. Monash,

    I am wondering why you always have to be so negative about ANTs. Any analyst hopes that small companies do better, that is not your case when it comes to ANTs. You have always bullied the company and get personal on the company. 

    Are you still hurt they did not sign an agreement with you? It seems like it is that way.

    How much any small company needs to spend on Monash Research to be able to get your support?

    This is your position: “You pay me or suffer the consequences”

    What are you an analyst or a bully?

    And isn’t that a bit unethical?

  3. Chris on August 4th, 2010 4:01 pm

    So in your mind Sybase could rip apart ANTs but ANTs can not stand up for it’s product? Small minds make small statements!

  4. Bob on August 4th, 2010 7:09 pm

    The facts are what they are: ANTs Software has endeared itself to IBM for one reason and one reason only: its technology. Listen to the webcast of its March announcement prior to its May announcement of the IBM contract. There is ample reason to be excited about the IBM/ANTs relationship — both from an IBM shareholder perspective and an ANTs shareholder perspective.

    True, ANTs has done precious little during its existence, thanks to it truly being an ant among elephants. What is remarkable is how it has survived — mainly due to venture-capital-minded small investors. The hundreds of tech companies public and private that have gone belly up since 2000 suggests that ANTs’ technology was way ahead of its time and/or need.

    Perhaps if companies, after decades of piling band-aids on top of band-aids to keep their databases running, are given an opportunity to move their entire database with thousands of applications to another provider without fear of some meltdown — well perhaps that is the ultimate value of the ANTs technology.

    And if it works as ANTs and IBM claim it works, then the benefit to IBM is substantial…and huge for ANTs.

    But the ultimate winners are all the corporations and government agencies worldwide who have felt like they have been held hostage by their database vendor. Not that the vendor was to blame: the customer was stuck in the mud with no way to get out, and all the vendor could do was offer another band-aid.

    While Mr. Kozak’s reply was an impassioned defense of his company and the technology, it is also a testament to the fight in the little guy when the arrogance of the big guy just can’t be ignored.

    And the fact is that most of the replies to Mr. Pryslak’s post have been supportive of Mr. Kozak.

    Perhaps, Mr. Monash, it is still a little too early for ANTs and IBM to declare utter victory, but it isn’t too early to get truly excited about the prospect of a tiny and perennially developoment-stage company finally having its day/week/month/year in the sun.

  5. Curt Monash on August 4th, 2010 7:58 pm




    They brought me into the discussion. This led me to circle back and comment. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen ANTs as important enough to be worth writing about at this time.

  6. Dave on August 5th, 2010 9:41 am

    Good point, and also look at all the response from the ANT people, just goes to show you that there is probably some truth in what you said.

    “Don’t mix them up with facts”…


  7. Serge Rielau on August 5th, 2010 1:09 pm


    I’m going to tiptoe around this Ants vs Sybase mess thinking there is no such thing as bad press. But I want to correct one assumption you have made:
    “And by the way, IBM’s migration strategy is focused largely on ISVs, so the whole Sybase-ANTs dust-up may be about a type of business (direct capture by DB2 of Sybase ASE enterprise customers) nobody’s sales force is seriously pursuing.”

    While ISV provide this beautiful multiplier effect and are greatly appreciated it is customers who are hurting most by any sort of lock-in.
    Therefore we are seeing a lot of customers investigating migration.
    Amongst those I can reference here in a public forum are Potash and France Telecom. Both no small fries.
    The bigger the company the juicier the Oracle or Sybase License fees and thus the bigger the incentive to do something about it.

    If you want to get an update on what’s happening dial in here this Friday 10AM CST
    I’ll give a one year anniversary update.

    SQL Architect for DB2 for LUW

  8. Ajay on August 5th, 2010 1:38 pm

    Regardless of the technical issue, thoroughly entertaining pow-wows. ant’it?

  9. BK on August 6th, 2010 4:46 am

    I had reviewed ANTs offering for conversion from Sybase to Oracle. It is a not a feasible strategy. At best it may work for a small Sybase app and not by any stretch of imagination you can do any thing with a decent Sybase app. Also there were many concerns with regard to ANTs.

    For obvious reasons various DBMS vendors were targeting converting off Sybase. For a decent app with a sizable number of Stored Procs there is no ROI. We have sliced and diced this with different scenarios. As a product offering there is nothing wrong with Sybase and some times it is better to live with a known devil!

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