Analysis of business intelligence pioneer Cognos. Also covered is Applix, vendor of the memory-centric MOLAP tool TM1, which was acquired by Cognos. Related subjects include:
- IBM, which has acquired Cognos
- Business intelligence
- Memory-centric data management
- MOLAP (Multidimensional OnLine Analytic Processing)
Highlight of the latest article:
Also working on Cognos’s behalf during this period was lobbyist Richard McDonough, another close friend of DiMasi’s, who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the company secure state work. He failed to report more than $300,000 in lobbying fees until a Globe story earlier this month detailed his extent of his relationship with Cognos.
I already posted about the Boston Globe’s reporting on a deal to supply the whole Massachusetts state government with Cognos software that since has been investigated and rescinded.
I assumed this had been reported widely outside of Massachusetts, but a web search suggests otherwise.
The story is this: Cognos sold 20,000 seats of software to Massachusetts for $13 million. There were technical violations of purchase procedures, and other aspects of the deal that didn’t pass the smell test. After IBM bought Cognos, the deal was rescinded, and is being rebid. Read more
IBM is acquiring Solid Information Technology, makers of solidDB. Some quick comments:
- solidDB is actually a very interesting hybrid disk/in-memory memory-centric database management system. However, the press release announcing the deal makes it sound as if solidDB is in-memory only.
- That strongly suggests that IBM is buying Solid mainly to compete with Oracle TimesTen. As of last June, solidDB was already IBM’s TimesTen answer via a partnership; this deal just solidifies that arrangement.
- This probably isn’t good news for Solid’s MySQL engine. That’s a pity, since solidDB technically has the potential to be the best MySQL engine around.
- Notwithstanding IBM’s presumed intentions, Solid’s main market success historically is as an embedded system in telecommunications equipment, network software, and similar systems.
- Last year I wrote a white paper on memory-centric data management, showcasing four products. IBM now has bought two of them, namely Solid’s and Applix’s (via Cognos).
- Comparisons to IBM’s embedded Java DBMS Cloudscape are pointless. That’s just a failed product vs. solidDB or Sybase SQL Anywhere, and IBM long ago cut its losses.
|Categories: Cache, Cognos, IBM and DB2, In-memory DBMS, Memory-centric data management, MySQL, OLTP, Oracle TimesTen, solidDB, Sybase||5 Comments|
There are at least 16 different vendors offering appliances and/or software that do database management primarily for analytic purposes.* That’s a lot to keep up with,. So I’ve thrown together a little overview of the analytic data management landscape, liberally salted with links to information about specific vendors, products, or technical issues. In some ways, this is a companion piece to my prior post about data warehouse appliance myths and realities.
*And that’s just the tabular/alphanumeric guys. Add in text search and you run the total a lot higher.
Numerous data warehouse specialists offer traditional row-based relational DBMS architectures, but optimize them for analytic workloads. These include Teradata, Netezza, DATAllegro, Greenplum, Dataupia, and SAS. All of those except SAS are wholly or primarily vendors of MPP/shared-nothing data warehouse appliances. EDIT: See the comment thread for a correction re Kognitio.
Numerous data warehouse specialists offer column-based relational DBMS architectures. These include Sybase (with the Sybase IQ product, originally from Expressway), Vertica, ParAccel, Infobright,
Kognitio (formerly White Cross), and Sand. Read more
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Cognos, Data warehouse appliances, Data warehousing, DATAllegro, Dataupia, Greenplum, IBM and DB2, Kognitio, Netezza, Oracle, ParAccel, SAS Institute, Sybase, Teradata, Vertica Systems||11 Comments|
Analyst conference calls about merger announcements are generally pretty boring. Indeed, the companies involved tend to feel they are legally barred from saying anything interesting, by mandate of both the antitrust regulators and the SEC.
Still, such calls are joyful events, full of strategic happy talk. If one is really lucky, there may a virtuouso tap dancing exhibition as well. On today’s IBM/Cognos call, Cognos CEO Rob Ashe was asked whether he thought Cognos’ independence or lack thereof was as important today as he said it was after SAP announced its BOBJ takeover. Without missing a beat, he responded that there were two kinds of openness:
- Database openness (not important)
- ERP/business process openness (indeed important)
Hmm. I’m not so sure I agree. To begin with, there aren’t just two major points of potential integration. There’s also a whole lot of middleware: obviously data integration, but also app servers, portals, and query execution acceleration as well. Read more
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Business Objects, Cognos, IBM and DB2, Memory-centric data management, ParAccel, SAP AG||1 Comment|
Some quick thoughts in connection with IBM’s just-announced plans to acquire Cognos.
1. Ironically, IBM just put out a press release describing a strong-sounding reseller partnership with Business Objects. The deal specified that
Business Objects will begin distributing and reselling IBM DB2 Warehouse with Business Objects XI and CFO Performance Management solutions. In addition, IBM will include a starter edition of Business Objects XI with DB2 and DB2 Warehouse.
Jeff Jones of IBM told me that they also had a partnership with Cognos, but with different details. I guess Cognos will eventually take over that deal, which is an obvious negative for Business Objects.
2. More generally, I can see where Cognos will now likely gain share at DB2 sites, and IBM/Ascential at Cognos sites. I can’t as easily see why Cognos would now lose share at Oracle or Teradata or Netezza sites, or why Ascential would lose share at SAP/BOBJ sites. So there seem to be some genuine synergies here, albeit perhaps modest ones.
3. Thus, I think the negatives in this deal for the remaining independents (Microstrategy, Information Builders, Informatica, etc.) will somewhat outweigh the positives.
4. I’m not a big fan of Cognos’ management, former CEO Ron Zambonini and a few other freethinkers excepted. So from that standpoint I don’t think they have a lot to lose being taken over by Big Blue.
5. Obviously, with most of the dominoes now fallen, the big question is about the future of BI as it – potentially – gets integrated into much larger enterprise technology suites. And I think the answer to that depends a lot more on technology than most people seem to realize. More on that subject later, but here’s one hint:
I think fixing the disappointment that is dashboards will involve taking query volumes up by at least 2 to 3 orders of magnitude. So as great as recent innovations in analytic query performance have been, I hope and trust that so far we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Business Objects, Cognos, IBM and DB2||5 Comments|
SAP is acquiring Business Objects. There’s nothing inherent in BI Accelerator’s design that ties it to NetWeaver, SAP star schema InfoCubes, or any other particular current implementation detail. So BI Accelerator could become a lot more than an afterthought.
Combine that with Cognos’s acquisition of Applix and the continued success of upstart QlikView, and we could finally see a general memory-centric BI boom.
Maybe. There have been a lot of false alarms before.
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Business Objects, Cognos, Memory-centric data management, QlikTech and QlikView, SAP AG||3 Comments|
If I weren’t on a snorkeling vacation,* this might be a good time to write about why I once called Cognos “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” how Ron Zambonini used that label to help him gain the company’s top spot, why he’s such a big fan of mine, why I got my highest ever per-minute speaking fee to attend a Cognos sales kickoff event, why I went for a midnight touristing stroll in downtown Ottawa in zero degree Fahrenheit weather, or how I managed, while attending the aforementioned Cognos sales kickoff, to get snowed in for three days in, of all places, Dallas, Texas. But the wrasses and jacks await, so I’ll get straight to the point.
*Albeit fairly snorkel-free so far, thanks to Hurricane Felix.
As I discussed at considerable length in a white paper, Applix’s core technology is fully-featured, memory-centric MOLAP. This is certainly cool technology, and I think it is actually unique. That it’s historically been positioned as the engine for a mid-range set of performance management tools is a travesty, a shame, the result of a prior merger – and also the quite understandable consequence of RAM limitations. However, RAM is ever cheaper and Applix’s technology is now 64-bit, so the RAM barriers have been relaxed. Cognos can take Applix’s TM1 engine high-end if it wants to. And boy, should Cognos ever want to. Indeed, there are three different great ways Cognos could package and position TM1:
- As a no-data-warehouse-design quick-start analytics engine analogous to QlikView (the fastest-growing and most important newish BI suite, open source perhaps excepted);
- As the most sophisticated and versatile planning tool this side of SAP’s APO (and while APO’s sophistication is not in dispute, its versatility is questionable anyway);
- As the processing hub for dashboards-done-right.
|Categories: Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Cognos, Memory-centric data management, MOLAP||6 Comments|
QlikTech — the vendor of QlikView — contacted me to tell their memory-centric BI story. A Swedish company with >$23 million in estimated license revenue last year and a 100%ish growth rate, they claim to be the leader in that space, pulling ahead of Applix. But for now, I’ll call them “a” leader, and say that their story sounds like a hybrid between those of Applix (TM1 product) and SAP (BI Accelerator).
|Categories: Business intelligence, Cognos, Memory-centric data management, QlikTech and QlikView, SAP AG||1 Comment|