SAP AG

Analysis of SAP AG, and most especially its memory-centric BI Accelerator technology. Also covered are SAP’s overall database, connectivity, and analytics strategies. Related subjects include:

June 23, 2013

Hadoop news and rumors, June 23, 2013

Cloudera

*Of course, there will always be exceptions. E.g., some formats can be updated on a short-request basis, while others can only be written to via batch conversions.

Everybody else

February 21, 2013

One database to rule them all?

Perhaps the single toughest question in all database technology is: Which different purposes can a single data store serve well? — or to phrase it more technically — Which different usage patterns can a single data store support efficiently? Ted Codd was on multiple sides of that issue, first suggesting that relational DBMS could do everything and then averring they could not. Mike Stonebraker too has been on multiple sides, first introducing universal DBMS attempts with Postgres and Illustra/Informix, then more recently suggesting the world needs 9 or so kinds of database technology. As for me — well, I agreed with Mike both times. :)

Since this is MUCH too big a subject for a single blog post, what I’ll do in this one is simply race through some background material. To a first approximation, this whole discussion is mainly about data layouts — but only if we interpret that concept broadly enough to comprise:

To date, nobody has ever discovered a data layout that is efficient for all usage patterns. As a general rule, simpler data layouts are often faster to write, while fancier ones can boost query performance. Specific tradeoffs include, but hardly are limited to: Read more

February 5, 2013

Comments on Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems — evaluations

To my taste, the most glaring mis-rankings in the 2012/2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management are that it is too positive on Kognitio and too negative on Infobright. Secondarily, it is too negative on HP Vertica, and too positive on ParAccel and Actian/VectorWise. So let’s consider those vendors first.

Gartner seems confused about Kognitio’s products and history alike.

Gartner is correct, however, to note that Kognitio doesn’t sell much stuff overall.

* non-existent

In the cases of HP Vertica, Infobright, ParAccel, and Actian/VectorWise, the 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management’s facts are fairly accurate, but I dispute Gartner’s evaluation. When it comes to Vertica: Read more

October 6, 2012

Analyzing big companies is hard

Analyzing companies of any size is hard. Analyzing large ones, however, is harder yet.

Such limitations should be borne in mind in connection with anything I write about, for example, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, or SAP.

There are many reasons for large companies to communicate less usefully with analysts than smaller ones do. Some of the biggest are:

Read more

September 7, 2012

Integrated internet system design

What are the central challenges in internet system design? We probably all have similar lists, comprising issues such as scale, scale-out, throughput, availability, security, programming ease, UI, or general cost-effectiveness. Screw those up, and you don’t have an internet business.

Much new technology addresses those challenges, with considerable success. But the success is usually one silo at a time — a short-request application here, an analytic database there. When it comes to integration, unsolved problems abound.

The top integration and integration-like challenges for me, from a practical standpoint, are:

Other concerns that get mentioned include:

Let’s skip those latter issues for now, focusing instead on the first four.

Read more

April 7, 2012

Many kinds of memory-centric data management

I’m frequently asked to generalize in some way about in-memory or memory-centric data management. I can start:

Getting more specific than that is hard, however, because:

Consider, for example, some of the in-memory data management ideas kicking around. Read more

March 21, 2012

Comments on Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings call

Various reporters have asked me about Oracle’s third quarter 2012 earnings conference call. Specific Q&A includes:

What did Oracle do to have its earnings beat Wall Street’s estimates?

Have a bad second quarter and then set Wall Street’s expectations too low for Q3. This isn’t about strong results; it’s about modest expectations.

Can Oracle be a leader in both hardware and software?

Beyond that, please see below.

What about Oracle in the cloud?

MySQL is an important cloud supplier. But Oracle overall hasn’t demonstrated much understanding of what cloud technology and business are all about. An expensive SaaS acquisition here or there could indeed help somewhat, but it seems as if Oracle still has a very long way to go.

Other comments

Other comments on the call, whose transcript is available, include: Read more

February 26, 2012

SAP HANA today

SAP HANA has gotten much attention, mainly for its potential. I finally got briefed on HANA a few weeks ago. While we didn’t have time for all that much detail, it still might be interesting to talk about where SAP HANA stands today.

The HANA section of SAP’s website is a confusing and sometimes inaccurate mess. But an IBM whitepaper on SAP HANA gives some helpful background.

SAP HANA is positioned as an “appliance”. So far as I can tell, that really means it’s a software product for which there are a variety of emphatically-recommended hardware configurations — Intel-only, from what right now are eight usual-suspect hardware partners. Anyhow, the core of SAP HANA is an in-memory DBMS. Particulars include:

SAP says that the row-store part is based both on P*Time, an acquisition from Korea some time ago, and also on SAP’s own MaxDB. The IBM white paper mentions only the MaxDB aspect. (Edit: Actually, see the comment thread below.) Based on a variety of clues, I conjecture that this was an aspect of SAP HANA development that did not go entirely smoothly.

Other SAP HANA components include:  Read more

February 21, 2012

The 2011/2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms — company-by-company comments

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:

The heart of Gartner Group’s 2011/2012 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms was the company comments. I shall expound upon some, roughly in declining order of Gartner’s “Completeness of Vision” scores, dubious though those rankings may be.  Read more

February 21, 2012

Business intelligence industry trends

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:

Besides company-specific comments, the 2011/2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence (BI) Platforms offered observations on overall BI trends in a “Market Overview” section. I have mixed feelings about Gartner’s list. In particular:

Here’s the forest that I suspect Gartner is missing for the trees:

Read more

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