Ab Initio Software
Discussion of data integration software vendor Ab Initio. Related subjects include:
A significant fraction of IT professional services industry revenue comes from data integration. But as a software business, data integration has been more problematic. Informatica, the largest independent data integration software vendor, does $1 billion in revenue. INFA’s enterprise value (market capitalization after adjusting for cash and debt) is $3 billion, which puts it way short of other category leaders such as VMware, and even sits behind Tableau.* When I talk with data integration startups, I ask questions such as “What fraction of Informatica’s revenue are you shooting for?” and, as a follow-up, “Why would that be grounds for excitement?”
*If you believe that Splunk is a data integration company, that changes these observations only a little.
On the other hand, several successful software categories have, at particular points in their history, been focused on data integration. One of the major benefits of 1990s business intelligence was “Combines data from multiple sources on the same screen” and, in some cases, even “Joins data from multiple sources in a single view”. The last few years before application servers were commoditized, data integration was one of their chief benefits. Data warehousing and Hadoop both of course have a “collect all your data in one place” part to their stories — which I call data mustering — and Hadoop is a data transformation tool as well.
Ab Initio is an absurdly secretive company, as per a couple of prior posts and the comment threads on same. But yesterday at TDWI I actually found civil people staffing an Ab Initio trade show booth. Based on that conversation and other tidbits, I think it’s fairly safe to say: Read more
|Categories: Ab Initio Software, Analytic technologies, Benchmarks and POCs, Data integration and middleware, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Expressor, Pricing, Talend||10 Comments|
I finally caught up with Pentaho, which along with Jaspersoft is one of the two most visible open source business intelligence companies, Actuate perhaps excepted. Highlights included:
- Much like Jaspersoft, Pentaho’s initial focus was mainly on embedded, operational BI.
- However, Pentaho now feels it has a decent end-user GUI as well, and traditional-BI is a bigger part of sales.
- Also, some sales are focused on data integration, perhaps in support of more traditional BI products. Pentaho has even had an Ab Initio replacement in data integration. (Can there be any change more extreme than going from Ab Initio to open source?)
- As an example of technical breadth, Pentaho says that its Mondrian OLAP engine is used by Jaspersoft.
- Pentaho has Excel output, but not in the form of live formulas.
- Pentaho does XQuery.
- Industries with more Pentaho adoption than average include:
- Financial services (traditionally open-source-friendly, according to Pentaho)
- Government (ditto)
- Web 2.0 (obviously ditto)
- Travel/transportation (cash-strapped)
- Frontier Airlines is a Pentaho/Greenplum customer.
- TradeDoubler is a Pentaho/InfoBright customer. (Pentaho thinks that TradeDoubler reloads its warehouse every day, which if true frankly casts some doubt on InfoBright’s architecture.)
- Data mining is something of a Pentaho sideline. There’s some university in New Zealand that built data mining capabilities in Pentaho, and some data mining research is done in that. Separately, Pentaho has been integrated with R.
- Community contributions are concentrated in the areas you’d expect — features some user or system integrator needs for a specific project, connectors, bug reports, and the like.
|Categories: Ab Initio Software, Application areas, Business intelligence, Data integration and middleware, EAI, EII, ETL, ELT, ETLT, Greenplum, Infobright, Jaspersoft, Pentaho, Pricing||7 Comments|
According to the comments on this blog post, Ab Initio has been throwing analysts out of their trade show booths and being otherwise rude for at least two years, and probably a long longer. That goes beyond marketing strategy or quirkiness. It means Ab Initio has some secrets it desperately doesn’t want to have found out, or at least that it wants to conceal unless there are Ab Initio salespeople present to spin the prospects’ response to the news. Read more
Users and vendors occasionally mention Ab Initio to me. But when I inquired about details at their booth at the Teradata conference, I was told to go away by a “gentleman” who seemed quite amused with himself for doing so. And when I checked Ab Initio’s website right now, I found it to be rather content-free.
Is Ab Initio all flash — and Flash — and no substance? Do they rely on selling to a few enterprises they can bamboozle, free from interference by prying analysts? Obviously, I don’t know for sure, but that’s how my guesses are leaning right now.