Analysis of database management systems optimized for general-purpose or transactional use, but not the most demanding high-end transactional applications. Related subjects include:
Relational DBMS used to be fairly straightforward product suites, which boiled down to:
- A big SQL interpreter.
- A bunch of administrative and operational tools.
- Some very optional add-ons, often including an application development tool.
Now, however, most RDBMS are sold as part of something bigger.
- Oracle has hugely thickened its stack, as part of an Innovator’s Solution strategy — hardware, middleware, applications, business intelligence, and more.
- IBM has moved aggressively to a bundled “appliance” strategy. Even before that, IBM DB2 long sold much better to committed IBM accounts than as a software-only offering.
- Microsoft SQL Server is part of a stack, starting with the Windows operating system.
- Sybase was an exception to this rule, with thin(ner) stacks for both Adaptive Server Enterprise and Sybase IQ. But Sybase is now owned by SAP, and increasingly integrated as a business with …
- … SAP HANA, which is closely associated with SAP’s applications.
- Teradata has always been a hardware/software vendor. The most successful of its analytic DBMS rivals, in some order, are:
- Netezza, a pure appliance vendor, now part of IBM.
- Greenplum, an appliance-mainly vendor for most (not all) of its existence, and in particular now as a part of EMC Pivotal.
- Vertica, more of a software-only vendor than the others, but now owned by and increasingly mainstreamed into hardware vendor HP.
- MySQL’s glory years were as part of the “LAMP” stack.
- Various thin-stack RDBMS that once were or could have been important market players … aren’t. Examples include Progress OpenEdge, IBM Informix, and the various strays adopted by Actian.
The 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems is out. “Operational” seems to be Gartner’s term for what I call short-request, in each case the point being that OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) is a dubious term when systems omit strict consistency, and when even strictly consistent systems may lack full transactional semantics. As is usually the case with Gartner Magic Quadrants:
- I admire the raw research.
- The opinions contained are generally reasonable (especially since Merv Adrian joined the Gartner team).
- Some of the details are questionable.
- There’s generally an excessive focus on Gartner’s perception of vendors’ business skills, and on vendors’ willingness to parrot all the buzzphrases Gartner wants to hear.
- The trends Gartner highlights are similar to those I see, although our emphasis may be different, and they may leave some important ones out. (Big omission — support for lightweight analytics integrated into operational applications, one of the more genuine forms of real-time analytics.)
Anyhow: Read more
Oracle wants you to help you migrate from Microsoft SQL Server to MySQL. I was asked for comment, and replied:
- There are many SQL Server/Windows uses for which MySQL/Linux would do just as well. (Edit: But see the comments below.)
- However, I’m not sure in how many cases it would be worth the trouble of migration.
- Many Microsoft users have adopted a thick Windows-based stack. MySQL migration doesn’t address them.
- At the other extreme, if your application is really trivial, why bother moving?
- A few Seattle-area internet companies may have adopted SQL Server and now be wondering why. For them, this offer could be appealing.
Am I missing anything?
Microsoft is launching SQL Server 2012 on March 7. An IM chat with a reporter resulted, and went something like this.
Reporter: [Care to comment]?
CAM: SQL Server is an adequate product if you don’t mind being locked into the Microsoft stack. For example, the ColumnStore feature is very partial, given that it can’t be updated; but Oracle doesn’t have columnar storage at all.
Reporter: Is the lock-in overall worse than IBM DB2, Oracle?
CAM: Microsoft locks you into an operating system, so yes.
Reporter: Is this release something larger Oracle or IBM shops could consider as a lower-cost alternative a co-habitation scenario, in the event they’re mulling whether to buy more Oracle or IBM licenses?
CAM: If they have a strong Microsoft-stack investment already, sure. Otherwise, why?
Reporter: [How about] just cost?
CAM: DB2 works just as well to keep Oracle honest as SQL Server does, and without a major operating system commitment. For analytic databases you want an analytic DBMS or appliance anyway.
Best is to have one major vendor of OTLP/general-purpose DBMS, a web DBMS, a DBMS for disposable projects (that may be the same as one of the first two), plus however many different analytic data stores you need to get the job done.
By “web DBMS” I mean MySQL, NewSQL, or NoSQL. Actually, you might need more than one product in that area.
|Categories: Data warehousing, IBM and DB2, Microsoft and SQL*Server, Mid-range, MySQL, NoSQL, Oracle||9 Comments|
I decided I needed some Couchbase drilldown, on business and technology alike, so I had solid chats with both CEO Bob Wiederhold and Chief Architect Dustin Sallings. Pretty much everything I wrote at the time Membase and CouchOne merged to form Couchbase (the company) still holds up. But I have more detail now.
Context for any comments on customer traction includes:
- Membase went into limited production release in October, and full release in January. Similar things are true of CouchDB.
- Hence, most sales of Couchbase’s products have been made over the past 6 months.
- Couchbase (the merged product) is at this point only in a pre-production developer’s release.
- Couchbase has both a direct sales force and a classic open-source “funnel”-based online selling model. Naturally, Couchbase’s understanding of what its customers are doing is more solid with respect to the direct sales base.
- Most of Couchbase’s revenue to date seems to have come from a limited number of big-ticket “lighthouse” accounts (as opposed to, say, the larger number of smaller deals that come in through the online funnel).
- Most Membase purchases are for new applications, as opposed to memcached migrations. However, customers are the kinds of companies that probably also are using memcached elsewhere.
- Most other Membase purchases are replacements for the Membase/MySQL combination. Bob says those are easy sales with short sales cycles.
- Pure memcached support is a small but non-zero business for Couchbase, and a fine source of upsell opportunities.
- In the pipeline but not so much yet in the customer base are SaaS vendors and the like who use and may want to replace traditional DBMS such as Oracle. Other than among those, Couchbase doesn’t compete much yet with Oracle et al.
- Pure CouchDB isn’t all that much of a business, at least relative to community size, as CouchDB is a single-server product commonly used by people who are content not to pay for support.
Membase sales are concentrated in five kinds of internet-centric companies, which in declining order are: Read more
I was asked by a press person about Oracle 11g Express Edition. So I might as well also share my thoughts here.
1. Oracle 11g Express Edition is seriously crippled. E.g., it’s limited to 1 GB of RAM and 11 GB of data. However …
2. … I recall when I excitedly uncovered the first 1 GB relational databases, the way I’ve uncovered petabyte-scale databases in recent years. It was less than 20 years ago. This illustrates that …
3. … the Oracle 11g Express Edition crippleware is better than what top relational database users had 20 years ago. That in turn suggests …
4. … there are plenty of businesses small enough to use Oracle 11g Express Edition for real work today.
5. Sensible reasons for having an Oracle Express Edition start with test, development, and evaluation. But there’s also market seeding — if somebody uses it for whatever reason, then either the person, the organization, or both could at some point go on to be a real Oracle customer.
By the way, allowable database size of 11 GB is up from 4 GB a few years ago. That’s like treading water.
After Powersoft acquired Watcom and its famed Fortran compiler, marketing VP Tom Herring told me that the hidden jewel of the acquisition might well be a little DBMS, Watcom SQL. To put it mildly, Tom was right. Watcom SQL became SQL Anywhere; Powersoft was acquired by Sybase; Powersoft’s and Sybase’s main products both fell on hard times; Sybase built a whole mobile technology division around SQL Anywhere; and the whole thing just got sold for billions of dollars to SAP. Chris Kleisath recently briefed me on SQL Anywhere Version 12 (released to manufacturing this month), which seemed like a fine opportunity to catch up on prior developments as well.
The first two things to understand about SQL Anywhere is that there actually are three products:
- Sybase SQL Anywhere, a mid-range relational DBMS.
- Sybase UltraLite, a DBMS for mobile devices.
- Sybase MobiLink, a replication/sync tool.
and also that there are three main deployment/use cases:
- Generic desktop or server computers. This was the original market for SQL Anywhere.
- Laptop/handheld computers. This was the original growth market for SQL Anywhere. In particular, Siebel Systems’ first growth spurt was selling sales force automation software on laptop computers with SQL Anywhere underneath.
- Specialized devices. Earlier this decade, Sybase thought SQL Anywhere’s big growth market was on specialized devices. (I recall a video featuring some kind of automated pill dispensing machine for hospitals.)
Raj Nathan of Sybase has been calling around to chat quickly about the SAP/Sybase deal and related matters. Talking with Raj didn’t change any of my initial reactions to SAP’s acquisition of Sybase. I also didn’t bother Raj with too many hard questions, as he was clearly in call-and-reassure mode, reaching out to customers and influencers alike.
That said, Read more
|Categories: Aleri and Coral8, Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Columnar database management, Complex event processing (CEP), In-memory DBMS, Memory-centric data management, Mid-range, SAP AG, Sybase, Theory and architecture||13 Comments|
The past few years have seen a spate of startups in the analytic DBMS business. Netezza, Vertica, Greenplum, Aster Data and others are all reasonably prosperous, alongside older specialty product vendors Teradata and Sybase (the Sybase IQ part). OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) and general purpose DBMS startups, however, have not yet done as well, with such success as there has been (MySQL, Intersystems Cache’, solidDB’s exit, etc.) generally accruing to products that originated in the 20th Century.
Nonetheless, OLTP/general-purpose data management startup activity has recently picked up, targeting what I see as some very real opportunities and needs. So as a jumping-off point for further writing, I thought it might be interesting to collect a few observations about the market in one place. These include:
- Big-brand OLTP/general-purpose DBMS have more “stickiness” than analytic DBMS.
- By number, most of an enterprise’s OLTP/general-purpose databases are low-volume and low-value.
- Most interesting new OLTP/general-purpose data management products are either MySQL-based or NoSQL.
- It’s not yet clear whether MySQL will prevail over MySQL forks, or vice-versa, or whether they will co-exist.
- The era of silicon-centric relational DBMS is coming.
- The emphasis on scale-out and reducing the cost of joins spans the NoSQL and SQL-based worlds.
- Users’ instance on “free” could be a major problem for OLTP DBMS innovation.
I shall explain. Read more
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:
- MUMPS, the original Intersystems technology, was focused on health care.
- The reasons Intersystems went object-oriented have a lot to do with the structure of health-care records.
- Intersystems’ biggest and most visible ISVs are in the health-care area.
- Intersystems is actually beginning to sell an electronic health records system called TrakCare around the world (but not in the US, where it has lots of large competitive VARs).
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
|Categories: Data models and architecture, Emulation, transparency, portability, Health care, Intersystems and Cache', Mid-range, Object, OLTP, Sybase, Theory and architecture||5 Comments|