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:

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

February 11, 2012

Applications of an analytic kind

The most straightforward approach to the applications business is:

However, this strategy is not as successful in analytics as in the transactional world, for two main reasons:

I first realized all this about a decade ago, after Henry Morris coined the term analytic applications and business intelligence companies thought it was their future. In particular, when Dave Kellogg ran marketing for Business Objects, he rattled off an argument to the effect that Business Objects had generated more analytic app revenue over the lifetime of the company than Cognos had. I retorted, with only mild hyperbole, that the lifetime numbers he was citing amounted to “a bad week for SAP”. Somewhat hoist by his own petard, Dave quickly conceded that he agreed with my skepticism, and we changed the subject accordingly.

Reasons that analytic applications are commonly less complete than the transactional kind include: Read more

November 21, 2011

Some big-vendor execution questions, and why they matter

When I drafted a list of key analytics-sector issues in honor of look-ahead season, the first item was “execution of various big vendors’ ambitious initiatives”. By “execute” I mean mainly:

Vendors mentioned here are Oracle, SAP, HP, and IBM. Anybody smaller got left out due to the length of this post. Among the bigger omissions were:

Read more

November 21, 2011

Analytic trends in 2012: Q&A

As a new year approaches, it’s the season for lists, forecasts and general look-ahead. Press interviews of that nature have already begun. And so I’m working on a trilogy of related posts, all based on an inquiry about hot analytic trends for 2012.

This post is a moderately edited form of an actual interview. Two other posts cover analytic trends to watch (planned) and analytic vendor execution challenges to watch (already up).

Read more

September 22, 2011

HP systems soundbites

It is widely rumored that there will be a leadership change at HP (Meg Whitman in, Leo Apotheker out). In connection with that, I found myself holding forth on points such as:

May 23, 2011

Traditional databases will eventually wind up in RAM

In January, 2010, I posited that it might be helpful to view data as being divided into three categories:

I won’t now stand by every nuance in that post, which may differ slightly from those in my more recent posts about machine-generated data and poly-structured databases. But one general idea is hard to dispute:

Traditional database data — records of human transactional activity, referred to as “Human/Tabular data above” — will not grow as fast as Moore’s Law makes computer chips cheaper.

And that point has a straightforward corollary, namely:

It will become ever more affordable to put traditional database data entirely into RAM.  Read more

February 28, 2011

Updating our vendor client disclosures

Edit: This disclosure has been superseded by a March, 2012 version.

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below. To be clear:

With that said, our vendor client disclosures at this time are:

Read more

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