Intersystems and Cache’
Analysis of Intersystems, its object-oriented DBMS Cache’, and its composite application tool Ensemble. Related subjects include:
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:
- Overview comments about the 2011/2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, as well as a link to the actual document.
- Business intelligence industry trends — some of Gartner’s thoughts but mainly my own.
- Company-by-company comments based on the 2011/2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms.
- (This post) Third-party analytics, pulling together and expanding on some points I made in the first three posts.
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:
- Business intelligence software OEMed to packaged operational application vendors.
- Business intelligence software OEMed to SaaS (Software as a Service) application vendors.
- Business intelligence software bundled into information-selling businesses.
- Stakeholder-facing analytics, which usually is just BI allowing customers (or suppliers, investors, citizens, etc.) to look into one of your databases.
|Categories: Business intelligence, Business Objects, Information Builders, Intersystems and Cache', Jaspersoft, Pentaho, Software as a Service (SaaS)||1 Comment|
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
|Categories: Cache, In-memory DBMS, Intersystems and Cache', Memory-centric data management, Objectivity and Infinite Graph, OLTP, Software as a Service (SaaS), Starcounter||19 Comments|
As he has before, Intelligent Enterprise Editor Doug Henschen
- Personally selected annual lists of 12 “Most influential” companies and 36 “Companies to watch” in analytics- and database-related sectors.
- Made it clear that these are his personal selections.
- Nonetheless has called it an Editors’ Choice list, rather than Editor’s Choice.
(Actually, he’s really called it an “award.”)
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|
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
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:
Mark thinks hierarchical data models are a great fit for medical applications. For example, the application’s UI (and local schema) look quite different depending on which particular complaints or diagnoses apply to particular patient visits.
Cache’ just runs and runs w/o DBA intervention. Mark cited a figure of two support engineers for Mars Medical, supporting over 1,000 medical (largely group) practices, almost none of which have DBAs.
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.)
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
|Categories: IBM and DB2, Intersystems and Cache', MarkLogic, Microsoft and SQL*Server, Oracle, Structured documents||7 Comments|
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
|Categories: Actian and Ingres, EnterpriseDB and Postgres Plus, IBM and DB2, Intersystems and Cache', Microsoft and SQL*Server, Mid-range, MySQL, Open source, Oracle, Pervasive Software, PostgreSQL, Progress, Apama, and DataDirect, SAP AG||16 Comments|
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
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