Actian, which already owns VectorWise, is also buying ParAccel. The argument for why this kills VectorWise is simple. ParAccel does most things VectorWise does, more or less as well. It also does a lot more:
- ParAccel scales out.
- ParAccel has added analytic platform capabilities.
- I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess ParAccel has more mature management/plumbing capabilities as well.
One might conjecture that ParAccel is bad at highly concurrent, single-node use cases, and VectorWise is better at them — but at the link above, ParAccel bragged of supporting 5,000 concurrent connections. Besides, if one is just looking for a high-use reporting server, why not get Sybase IQ?? Anyhow, Actian hasn’t been investing enough in VectorWise to make it a major market player, and they’re unlikely to start now that they own ParAccel as well.
But I expect ParAccel to fail too. Reasons include:
- ParAccel’s small market share and traction.
- The disruption of any acquisition like this one.
- My general view of Actian as a company.
2 years after being acquired, Vertica — which conceptually has always been ParAccel’s closest competitor — has finally taken major hits on engineering staffing. Even so, I expect HP Vertica to reopen what was once a large technology and momentum gap vs. ParAccel.
My views on Actian start:
- Actian is attempting to build a database software conglomerate on the cheap, starting with Ingres, ParAccel, VectorWise, Pervasive (itself a small conglomerate) and Versant.
- Actian hasn’t accomplished much with Ingres, its original acquisition.
- Actian hasn’t accomplished much with VectorWise.
- Actian’s brief, embarrassing pivot away from database software was a joke. (The comments at that link also show VectorWise’s positioning as very different in September, 2011 than it is now.)
- I’ve had some very bad experiences with Actian management, although it seems to have largely turned over since then.
- I can’t identify the folks to make this work at the acquired pieces either (even though I think well of a few of them, e.g. Mike Hoskins and Rick Glick).
I.e., building a database conglomerate is hard, and Actian isn’t up to the challenge.
Actian has three main paths it can follow for synergy:
- Acquire a lot of pieces and flip the whole thing for more money to a foolish buyer. This strategy worked splendidly for Autonomy, and to some extent for Sybase as well. But it’s a longshot, and not necessarily a win for customers even if investors do well.
- Sell a bunch of disparate products through the same sales force. Tough to execute. And at best it raises sales coverage up to the level of that for the most successful product — and Actian doesn’t really have successful new products.
- Integrate the technologies. Blech. You don’t integrate DBMS with wildly different architectures, as Informix died trying in the 1990s.
I don’t see enough opportunity there for the whole thing to work out, with sales synergy being the best opportunity to prove me wrong.
- Doug Henschen and Derrick Harris offer quotes and numbers about the deal.
- VectorWise’s academic founders Peter Boncz and Marcin Zukowski seem to have left the company.