Intersystems and Cache’

Analysis of Intersystems, its object-oriented DBMS Cache’, and its composite application tool Ensemble. Related subjects include:

February 21, 2012

Third-party analytics

This is one of a series of posts on business intelligence and related analytic technology subjects, keying off the 2011/2012 version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms. The four posts in the series cover:

I’ve written a lot this weekend about various areas of business intelligence and related analytics.  A recurring theme has been what we might call third-party analytics — i.e., anything other than buying analytic technology and deploying it in your own enterprise. Four main areas include:

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May 21, 2011

Object-oriented database management systems (OODBMS)

There seems to be a fair amount of confusion about object-oriented database management systems (OODBMS). Let’s start with a working definition:

An object-oriented database management system (OODBMS, but sometimes just called “object database”) is a DBMS that stores data in a logical model that is closely aligned with an application program’s object model. Of course, an OODBMS will have a physical data model optimized for the kinds of logical data model it expects.

If you’re guessing from that definition that there can be difficulties drawing boundaries between the application, the application programming language, the data manipulation language, and/or the DBMS — you’re right. Those difficulties have been a big factor in relegating OODBMS to being a relatively niche technology to date.

Examples of what I would call OODBMS include:  Read more

February 11, 2010

Intelligent Enterprise’s Editors’/Editor’s Choice list for 2010

As he has before, Intelligent Enterprise Editor Doug Henschen

(Actually, he’s really called it an “award.”)

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January 15, 2010

Intersystems Cache’ highlights

I talked with Robert Nagle of Intersystems last week, and it went better than at least one other Intersystems briefing I’ve had. Intersystems’ main product is Cache’, an object-oriented DBMS introduced in 1997 (before that Intersystems was focused on the fourth-generation programming language M, renamed from MUMPS). Unlike most other OODBMS, Cache’ is used for a lot of stuff one would think an RDBMS would be used for, across all sorts of industries. That said, there’s a distinct health-care focus to Intersystems, in that:

Note: Intersystems Cache’ is sold mainly through VARs (Value-Added Resellers), aka ISVs/OEMs. I.e., it’s sold by people who write applications on top of it.

So far as I understand – and this is still pretty vague and apt to be partially erroneous – the Intersystems Cache’ technical story goes something like this: Read more

September 23, 2008

A few operational BI/BPM/business rules stories

Intersystems is rolling out DeepSee, which is a Cache’-specific BI engine. Since some Intersystems OEMs have been known to pay more money to Business Objects/Crystal Reports than to Intersystems itself, the business motivation is obvious. Technically, Intersystems’ claims include: Read more

August 16, 2008

A NoteWorthy win for Intersystems Cache’

A small Microsoft SQL Server-based medical application vendor called NoteWorthy Medical Systems bought a small Intersystems Cache’-based medical application vendor called Mars Medical Systems. NoteWorthy then decided to rebuild its product line on Intersystems Cache’. A press release ensued.*

*In general, my criticisms of Intersystems’ stealth marketing are beginning to be relaxed. On the other hand, if you want to be technical, I still haven’t actually talked with the company for years …

I spoke briefly with Mark Conner, founder of Mars Medical and now EVP of NoteWorthy, about why he so loves Cache’. (I asked what he disliked about the product; his response was an emphatic “Nothing”.) It basically boils down to two reasons:

The latter feature is crucial to small ISVs selling application software to even smaller users, and is a big part of why Progress and Intersystems have large share in that market. More generally, it’s the most important and common technical advantage that mid-range database management systems generally enjoy versus the market leaders. (The other big advantage, of course, is pricing.)

June 28, 2008

Who is doing what in XML data management these days?

A comment thread to a post on a different subject has opened up a discussion of XML storage. Frankly, I haven’t kept up with my briefings on the subject, in part because XML support hasn’t proved to be very important yet to the big DBMS vendors, somewhat to my surprise. When last I looked, the situation wasn’t much different from what it was back in November, 2005. Unless I’ve missed something (and please tell me if I have!), here’s what’s going on: Read more

January 22, 2008

What leading DBMS vendors don’t want you to realize

For very high-end applications, the list of viable database management systems is short. Scalability can be a problem. (The rankings of most scalable alternatives differ in the OLTP and data warehouse realms.) Extreme levels of security can be had from only a few DBMS. (Oracle would have you believe there’s only one choice.) And if you truly need 99.99% uptime, there only are a few DBMS you even should consider.

But for most applications at any enterprise – and for all applications at most enterprises – super high-end DBMS aren’t required. There are relatively few applications that wouldn’t run perfectly well on PostgreSQL or EnterpriseDB today. Ingres and Progress OpenEdge aren’t far behind (they’re a little lacking in datatype support). Ditto Intersystems Cache’, although the nonrelational architecture will be off-putting to many. And to varying degrees, you can also do fine with MySQL, Pervasive PSQL, MaxDB, or a variety of other products – or for that matter with the cheap or free crippled versions of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Informix.

What’s more, these mid-range database management systems can have significant advantages over their high-end brethren. Read more

December 17, 2007

Intersystems’ stealth marketing has gotten pretty extreme

Every few months I try to make contact with Intersystems. Sometimes they graciously respond, promising to schedule a briefing, which then never happens. Other times they don’t even bother. Now, on one level I can’t blame them, based on what happened at my last briefing. Read more

October 22, 2007

Native XML performance, and Philip Howard on recent IBM DBMS announcements

Philip Howard went to at least one conference this month I didn’t, namely IBM’s, and wrote up some highlights. As usual, he seems to have been favorably impressed.

In one note, he says that IBM is claiming a 2-5X XML performance improvement. This is a good step, since one of my clients who evaluated such engines dismissed IBM early on for being an order of magnitude too slow. That client ultimately chose Marklogic, with Cache’ having been the only other choice to make the short list.

Speaking of IBM, I flew back from the Business Objects conference next to a guy who supports IMS. He told me that IBM has bragged of an actual new customer win for IMS within the past couple of years (a large bank in China). Read more

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