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:

August 10, 2006

QlikView – a leader in memory-centric BI

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).

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May 8, 2006

Memory-centric data management whitepaper

I have finally finished and uploaded the long-awaited white paper on memory-centric data management.

This is the project for which I origially coined the term “memory-centric data management,” after realizing that the prevalent “in-memory DBMS” creates all sorts of confusion about how and whether data persists on disk. The white paper clarifies and updates points I have been making about memory-centric data management since last summer. Sponsors included:

If there’s one area in my research I’m not 100% satisfied with, it may be the question of where the true hardware bottlenecks to memory-centric data management lie (it’s obvious that the bottleneck to disk-centric data management is random disk access). Is it processor interconnect (around 1 GB/sec)? Is it processor-to-cache connections (around 5 GB/sec)? My prior pronouncements, the main body of the white paper, and the Intel Q&A appendix to the white paper may actually have slightly different spins on these points.

And by the way — the current hard limit on RAM/board isn’t 2^64 bytes, but a “mere” 2^40. But don’t worry; it will be up to 2^48 long before anybody actually puts 256 gigabytes under the control of a single processor.

November 14, 2005

Defining and surveying “Memory-centric data management”

I’m writing more and more about memory-centric data management technology these days, including in my latest Computerworld column. You may be wondering what that term refers to. Well, I’ve basically renamed what are commonly called “in-memory DBMS,” for what I think is a very good reason: Most of the products in the category aren’t true DBMS, aren’t wholly in-memory, or both! Indeed, if you catch me in a grouchy mood I might argue that “in-memory DBMS” is actually a contradiction in terms.

I’ll give a quick summary of the vendors and products I am focusing on in this newly-named category, and it should be clearer what I mean:

So there you have it. There are a whole lot of technologies out there that manage data in RAM, in ways that would make little or no sense if disks were more intimately involved. Conventional DBMS also try to exploit RAM and limit disk access, via caching; but generally the data access methods they use in RAM are pretty similar to those they use when going out to disk. So memory-centric systems can have a major advantage.

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