Progress, Apama, and DataDirect

Analysis of Progress Software and its various product lines, including Apama, DataDirect, and OpenEdge. Related subjects include:

July 20, 2014

Data integration as a business opportunity

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.

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November 10, 2013

RDBMS and their bundle-mates

Relational DBMS used to be fairly straightforward product suites, which boiled down to:

Now, however, most RDBMS are sold as part of something bigger.

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November 8, 2013

Comments on the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems

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:

Anyhow:  Read more

July 17, 2010

Sybase SQL Anywhere

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:

and also that there are three main deployment/use cases:

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May 21, 2009

Notes on CEP application development

While performance may not be all that great a source of CEP competitive differentiation, event processing vendors find plenty of other bases for technological competition, including application development, analytics, packaged applications, and data integration. In particular:

So far as I can tell, the areas of applications and analytics are fairly uncontroversial. Different CEP vendors have implemented different kinds of things, no doubt focusing on those they thought they would find easiest to build and then sell. But these seem to be choices in business execution, not in core technical philosophy.

In CEP application development, however, real philosophical differences do seem to arise. There are at least three different CEP application development paradigms: Read more

May 21, 2009

Notes on CEP performance

I’ve been talking to CEP vendors on and off for a few years. So what I hear about performance is fairly patchwork. On the other hand, maybe 1-2+ year-old figures of per-core performance are still meaningful today. After all, Moore’s Law is being reflected more in core count than per-core performance, and it seems CEP vendors’ development efforts haven’t necessarily been concentrated on raw engine speed.

So anyway, what do you guys have to add to the following observations?

March 9, 2009

Independent CEP vendors continue to flounder

Independent CEP (Complex/Event Processing) vendors continue to flounder, at least outside the financial services and national intelligence markets.

CEP’s penetration outside of its classical markets isn’t quite zero. Customers include several transportation companies (various vendors), Sallie Mae (Coral8), a game vendor or two (StreamBase, if I recall correctly), Verizon (Aleri, I think), and more. But I just wrote that list from memory — based mainly on not-so-recent deals — and a quick tour of the vendors’ web sites hasn’t turned up much I overlooked. (Truviso does have a recent deal with Technorati, but that’s not exactly a blue chip customer these days.)

So far as I can tell, this is a new version of a repeated story. Read more

February 1, 2008

Dan Weinreb on ObjectStore

Dan Weinreb was one of the key techies at Object Design, the company that made the object-oriented database management system ObjectStore. (Object Design later merger into Excelon, which was eventually sold to Progress, which has deemphasized but still supports ObjectStore.) Recently he wrote a pair of long and fascinating articles* about Object Design, ObjectStore, and OODBMS, the first of which makes the case that “object-oriented database management systems succeeded.”
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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

August 10, 2007

Coral8 versus StreamBase

Besides talking about what Coral8 and StreamBase (and other CEP vendors) have in common, Mark Tsimelzon and I talked quite a bit about what he sees as some of the important differences. There were a lot, of course, but three in particular stood out.

1. Mark believes Coral8 has significantly lower latency than StreamBase. E.g., the Wombat/Coral8 combo achieves sub-millisecond latency, with Coral8 itself consuming less than a tenth of that. The best comparable figures from StreamBase that I currently know of are almost an order of magnitude slower.

Top-end speed aside, Mark believes that Coral8 is fundamentally better suited for complex queries and pattern recognition, while StreamBase works well with simpler queries. For example, his other performance claims notwithstanding, he concedes that StreamBase is at least comparable to Coral8 in its throughput for huge numbers of simple queries. (The number he mentioned was ½ million queries/second.) Indeed, while we barely talked about customer/marketing issues, Mark asserts that the companies’ respective customer bases reflect this complex/simple distinction.*
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