The Database Report – January 2012

It is now January 2012 as we end another year of following and reporting on the database industry. The past year, 2011, was another active and entertaining year for fans of data and database systems. As usual, the highlights of the year were the acquisitions and lawsuits; and the fourth quarter of 2011 gave us more of both. So as we bravely embark upon another New Year, let’s take some time to review the happenings in the DBMS marketplace during the past quarter.…In The Court HouseWe begin our coverage of database-related news for the final quarter of 2012 on the legal front, where several lawsuits are still burning. First, let’s check in on the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit claiming that Google’s Android mobile operating system infringes on Oracle’s Java patents.

Late in the third quarter a judge ruled that the majority of Oracle’s claims against Google could move forward. Google earlier had motioned to resolve the copyright claims in its favor before trial. Oracle is seeking in excess of $1 billion in damages from Google.

The case was scheduled to begin in October, but before it began the judge in the case postponed it, because he had an unrelated criminal trial that would not be completed until January or February 2012. The judge also is considering asking another federal judge to take over the case. As of late 2012, the case continues snaking its way through the courts.

Also late in the third quarter Hewlett-Packard settled its lawsuit against Mark Hurd. For those who do not recall this case, Hurd is the former CEO of HP who was forced out after allegations of sexual harassment. Well, then Oracle swooped in and hired Hurd in an executive position (succeeding Charles E. Phillips Jr. as a president at the company) and the excrement hit the fan. HP views Oracle as a big competitor (and rightly so, after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun) and were worried about trade secrets Hurd may share with his new employer.

Well, after two weeks of litigation, the two companies announced a settlement. Of course, the terms of the settlement were not revealed, other than stating that Mr. Hurd would protect HP’s confidential information. Digging a little deeper though, in a Securities and Exchanve Commission filing made around the same time, HP modified its separation agreement with Mr. Hurd. The “modification” is that Hurd will waive approximately half of the compensation that HP owes him in his separation agreement.

And in another lawsuit involving Oracle and the U.S. Government, a settlement was reached whereby Oracle agreed to pay more than $199.5 million to settle allegations it overbilled the government over a span of nine years, from 1998 to 2006. Basically, the lawsuit claimed that Oracle sold $1.08 billion worth of software to the General Services Administration with Oracle assuring the agency that it would receive the same discounts Oracle gives to its other commercial customers. Evidently, the government became aware of bigger discounts given to others and so it filed a civil suit. The payout is the largest ever obtained by the GSA under the False Claims Act, which lets citizens sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. Former Oracle employee Paul Frascella, who filed the case in 2007, will receive $40 million.

Of course, Oracle has admitted no fraud on its part and claims to have settled the case to avoid the additional costs of litigation.

IBM Names Virginia Rometty as its New CEO

In late October, IBM announced that its current CEO, Sam Palmisano will retire at the end of 2011. At the same time, the company announced that Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty, who has been with the company since 1981, will replace Palmisano as IBM’s chief executive. Ms. Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Rometty, who becomes the first female CEO in IBM’s one hundred year history, had most recently been IBM Senior Vice President and Group Executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She was responsible for revenue, profit and client satisfaction for all 170 global markets in which IBM conducts business.

Ms. Rometty said: “There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment. Sam had the courage to transform the company based on his belief that computing technology, our industry, even world economies would shift in historic ways. All of that has come to pass. Today, IBM’s strategies and business model are correct. Our ability to execute and deliver consistent results for clients and shareholders is strong. This is due to Sam’s leadership, his discipline, and his unshakable belief in the ability of IBM and IBMers to lead into the future. Sam taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM.”

Rometty’s tenure begins at the start of 2012, when current CEO, Sam Palmisano, retires. Mr. Palmisano, 60, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. Since Mr. Palmisano became CEO, IBM has set records in pre-tax earnings, earnings per share, and free cash flow. He will remain on IBM’s board of directors.

The Fourth Quarter of 2011: By The Numbers

The fourth quarter of the year produced mostly good results for The Big Three DBMS vendors. Let’s take a closer look at each, starting with IBM.

IBM’s Fiscal Third Quarter

IBM announced its fiscal third quarter 2011 earnings in mid October. Earnings per share came in at $3.19, compared with earnings of $2.82 per share in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 13 percent. Third quarter net income was $3.8 billion compared with $3.6 billion in the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 7 percent. Total revenues for the third quarter of 2011 of $26.2 billion increased 8 percent from the third quarter of 2010.

“In the third quarter, we drove revenue growth, margin expansion and increased earnings as a result of our innovation-based strategy and continued investment in growth initiatives,” said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Growth markets delivered outstanding revenue performance across software, hardware, and services and contributed to the company’s expanded margins. We also achieved strong results in Smarter Planet, business analytics and cloud.”

Based on the strong performance of the quarter, IBM raised its 2011 full year operating earnings per share expectations to $13.35.

Revenues from the Systems and Technology segment, which is IBM’s hardware division, totaled $4.5 billion for the quarter, up 4 percent from the third quarter of 2010. This will become more interesting when we examine Oracle’s hardware revenue (in the next section) as they attempt to rival IBM’s hardware juggernaut.

Revenues from the Software segment were $5.8 billion, an increase of 13 percent. Revenues from IBM’s key middleware products, which include WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, were $3.6 billion, an increase of 17 percent versus the third quarter of 2010. Revenues from the WebSphere family of software products increased 52 percent year over year. In terms of database specific revenue, revenues for the Information Management software segment (which include DB2, Informix, IMS, and other data and database software) increased 12 percent.

So it was another great quarter for IBM.

Oracle’s Fiscal First Quarter

For its fiscal first quarter of 2012, Oracle reported earnings of $1.8 billion on $8.4 billion in revenues. This represents earnings of 36 cents a share and is up 12 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The results, although better than expected, were somewhat tempered by hardware revenues which finished at the low end of expectations. The first quarter is typically Oracle’s weakest.

New software license revenue for the quarter was up 17 percent to $1.5 billion and software license updates and support revenue was up 17 percent, too, at $4 billion for the quarter. Database and middleware revenue in the first quarter came in at $478 million, up 7 percent from the same quarter last year. Application software revenue was also up with $249 million in sales, 18 percent over last year.

The disappointment came on the hardware side of its business, which was down 5 percent in the quarter at $1 billion. Oracle had projected its hardware revenue to come in somewhere between $1.03 billion and $1.1 billion. The Oracle spin was that it is migrating the hardware business to become more profitable. “Our high-end server business – Exadata, Exalogic, and SPARC M-Series – delivered solid double digit revenue growth in Q1,” said Oracle President, Mark Hurd.  “In contrast, revenue declined in our low-end server business. By moving away from low-margin commodity hardware and focusing on high-end servers, we increased our hardware gross margins from 48% to 54%.  Our strategy to grow the profitable parts of our hardware business is paying off.” So Oracle is mired in an attempt to transition to more profitable hardware lines, while IBM’s hardware business cruises along…

Oracle also announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share of outstanding common stock. This dividend will be paid to stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 12, 2011, with a payment date of November 2, 2011.

Microsoft’s Fiscal First Quarter

Microsoft also reported its fiscal first quarter financial results during the quarter. The company announced that it set a record for first quarter revenue with $17.37, a 7 percent increase from the same period of the prior year. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.20 billion, $5.74 billion, and $0.68 per share, which represented increases of 1 percent, 6 percent, and 10 percent, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.

“We saw customer demand across the breadth of our products, resulting in record first-quarter revenue and another quarter of solid EPS growth,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Our product portfolio is performing well, and we’ve got an impressive pipeline of products and services that positions us well for future growth.”

The Server & Tools segment, which is where SQL Server revenue is reported, posted $4.25 billion in first quarter revenue, a 10 percent increase over the prior year period and the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth.

Ingres Rebrands Itself

Another notable occurrence this past quarter is the rebranding of Ingres, the company, not the database management system. However, the company is also de-emphasizing Ingres the DBMS and focusing on rebranding the company as a big data provider. Not surprising, isn’t everyone?

At any rate, the company formerly known as Ingres is now named Actian. And the company is touting a set of products called Action Apps (Actian should be careful there as it seems that Apple thinks it owns the term “App” these days). The company describes Action Apps as lightweight, consumer-style applications that automate business actions triggered by real-time changes in data.

“Actian is turning big data into big outcomes for our customers with Action Apps,” said Steve Shine. “More than $8 billion a year is spent on business intelligence to generate piles of historical reports and no action. Actian picks up where BI falls short by arming customers to take instant actions the second something changes in their data.”

Actian will continue to support Ingres, but the company is focusing on big data, Action Apps instead of DBMS technology. But if you are looking to buy an Action App, slow down… Actian plans to work with customers through its services branch to build Action Apps, so none are available just yet. But the company plans to work with third-party developers and to open a public application store. If you are interested, check out www.actian.com for more details.

IBM’s 4th Quarter Acquisitions

In October, IBM acquired Q1 Labs, a privately held Waltham, Massachusetts based company specializing in security intelligence software. The company boasts more than 1,800 clients globally, across multiple industries.

The company’s flagship product, the QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, integrates previously disparate functions (including SIEM, risk management, log management, network behavior analytics and security event management) into a total security intelligence solution. The advanced analytics provided in Q1’s software can detect actions across an enterprise that deviate from prescribed policies and thereby help prevent data breaches.

Upon the acquisition’s closing, Q1 Labs CEO Brendan Hannigan assumed the role of general manager of IBM’s newly formed Security Systems Division, which integrates IBM’s Tivoli, Rational and Information Management security software, appliances, lab offerings and services.

“The ability to leverage analytics is becoming a competitive differentiator,” said Brendan Hannigan, general manager, IBM Security Systems. “We’re fusing together IBM’s vast security expertise and analytics to drive security intelligence to clients and fundamentally alter the security marketplace.”

For more information on IBM security, please visit: www.ibm.com/security

Also in October, IBM announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Platform Computing, a privately held company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Platform Computing provides cluster and grid management software for distributed computing environments. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“IBM considers the acquisition of Platform Computing to be a strategic element for the transformation of HPC into the high growth segment of technical computing and an important part of our smarter computing strategy,” said Helene Armitage, general manager, IBM Systems Software.

Platform Computing serves over 2,000 clients including 23 of the top 30 largest global enterprises. Example customers include CERN, Citigroup, Infineon, Pratt & Whitney, Red Bull Racing, Sanger Institute, Statoil and University of Tokyo. Upon closing the acquisition, Platform Computing’s operations will be integrated into IBM Systems and Technology Group. Platform Computing has approximately 500 employees worldwide.

And in December, IBM entered into a merger agreement to acquire DemandTec in an all cash transaction of $440 million. The deal is expected to be finalized during the first quarter of 2012. DemandTec has about 450 global customers in retail, consumer products and related industries. Upon closing, DemandTec will be will be integrated into IBM’s Software Group.

DemandTec delivers cloud-based analytics software that enables businesses to examine different customer buying scenarios, both online and in-store. As a result, companies can spot trends and shopper insights to make better price, promotion, and assortment decisions that increase revenue and profitability.

The company is based in San Mateo, California and employs more than 350 staff. DemandTec owns 31 patents in the areas of pricing, response analysis, and promotion analysis. The acquisition of DemandTec extends IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative by adding cloud-based price, promotion and other merchandising and marketing analytics offerings.

“IBM Smarter Commerce is redefining how brands buy, market, sell and service their customers in ways that their customers want,” said Craig Hayman, General Manager of Industry Solutions at IBM. “Bringing science to the art of pricing and promotion is a big part of this strategy, and the combination of DemandTec and IBM will help marketing and sales executives in retail and other industries drive more revenue and increase profitability.”

Oracle’s 4th Quarter Acquisitions

Oracle also was busy on the acquisition front during the fourth quarter of 2011. In mid October, the company announced had agreed to acquire Endeca Technologies, Inc., a provider of solutions focused on unstructured data management, web commerce and business intelligence. Endeca, a privately held company with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, boasts more than 600 customers of its solutions.

Endeca’s core technology, the MDEX Engine, enables enterprises to correlate and analyze unstructured data. Endeca also offers InFront, a customer experience management platform; and Latitude, a technology platform for rapidly developing analytic applications.

With the addition of Endeca, Oracle improves its Big Data message, which is vitally important as Oracle attempts to keep up with IBM in this realm. The combination of Oracle and Endeca is expected to create a comprehensive technology platform to process, store, manage, search and analyze structured and unstructured information together.

“The combination of Oracle and Endeca is extremely compelling in this changing data environment,” said Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President, Oracle Development.

“Together, we will provide best-in-class technology to manage structured and unstructured data together; business intelligence tools to analyze structured and unstructured data together; and a broad suite of packaged applications which extends the value of unstructured data into ERP, Supply Chain, CRM, EPM, Web Commerce, and specialized applications.”

But the Oracle acquisition that made the most noise this quarter was the one that immediately followed. In late October, in a play that will cost it almost $1.5 billion, Oracle announced its intent to acquire RightNow Technologies, Inc. RightNow’s cloud-based customer experience software helps organizations deliver an improved experience across call centers, the web and social networks. Nearly 2,000 organizations across a wide range of industries rely on RightNow’s customer service cloud to improve the quality and consistency of experience across channels, reduce response times and lower operational costs.

This move by Oracle to embrace the cloud is what makes it the most interesting acquisition of the quarter. This is so because Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has mocked the concept of cloud computing in the past (as evidenced by the YouTube clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FacYAI6DY0). But if you listen closely, Ellison is not really mocking the technology and what it can accomplish, but the marketing hype, which is quite worthy of derision.

At any rate, Oracle is now a major cloud competitor. “Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of Cloud Solutions including sales force automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud,” said Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President, Oracle Development. “RightNow’s leading customer service cloud is a very important addition to Oracle’s Public Cloud.”

And What About Microsoft?

Although Microsoft did not initiate any database-related acquisitions during the fourth quarter of 2011, it did finalize the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype in October. The deal, which was announced in May 2011, had to undergo regulatory approval in several markets before it could be finalized. Under the terms of the agreement, Skype becomes a new business division within Microsoft, with Tony Bates, the former CEO of Skype becoming the president of that division.

Interestingly, the first action the company took upon finalizing the acquisition was removing the option to install the Google Toolbar in version 5.6 of Skype. Now I wonder how much longer they will continue to support a version of Skype for Android?

Important Database Product News During the Fourth Quarter

All of the big DBMS vendors released new and updated versions of products during the quarter.

Oracle Product Announcements

Late in the third quarter Oracle announced the Oracle Database Appliance. Oracle touts this offering as “a complete package of software, server, storage, and network that’s engineered for simplicity; saving time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of database workloads.” Oracle got a lot right with this package. It provides a complete package of hardware and software components supported by a single vendor, namely Oracle. It also offer customers a pay-as-you-grow software licensing for scaling from 2 processor cores to 24 processor cores without incurring the costs and downtime usually associated with hardware upgrades. The Oracle Database Appliance is an ideal solution for midsize organizations and departmental systems.

The base hardware is comprised of 2 servers with 12 Intel Xeon cores each and 192 GB of main memory. The two server nodes are connected via an internal redundant gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interconnect for cluster communication, and each provides both 1 GbE and 10 GbE external networking connectivity. The appliance also comes with 12 TB raw disk storage that is triple mirrored and 292 GB solid state storage for high performance logging.

The software is similar to Exadata. You get Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition, Automatic Storage Management, Oracle Real Application Clusters, and Oracle Linux. The Oracle Database Appliance also comes with the Oracle Appliance Manager software, which “phones home” automatically to file Service Requests. According to Oracle, a customer may see a technician arriving on site before they even know they have a problem.

Perhaps Alex Gorbachev, CTO of Pythian Group, says it best: “With Oracle Database Appliance, everything comes prepared for the customers – all they need to install is to drop the appliance in the data-center, type in selected IP addresses for the cluster and run a single command from Oracle appliance manager – two hours later a full blown RAC cluster with a pre-configured database is ready to go. No network changes. No database storage setup. No server configuration. No compatibility nightmares.”

The starting list price for the Oracle Database Appliance is $50K, but that does not include the price of the DBMS software, which must be licensing separately, which is a bit odd for a so-called appliance. But it does allow for flexibility in terms of licensing and paying only for the needed amount of Oracle Database you need.

Oracle also made several major product announcements during the first week of October in conjunction with its annual Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco, CA. One of those announcements was Oracle’s new NoSQL database system.

Oracle NoSQL Database Enterprise Edition is a distributed, highly scalable, key-value database. Oracle touts its NoSQL solution as being easy to install, configure and manage, and with the capacity to support a broad set of workloads. Oracle NoSQL Database is built upon Oracle’s Berkeley DB Java Edition high-availability storage engine. In addition to that it adds a layer of services for use in distributed environments.

The Berkeley DB engine, acquired by Oracle in 2006, is already in widespread use, so the Oracle NoSQL solution is based on sound technology.

Being a key-value database, there is no need to define a schema – instead, users simply create keys and attach data to them. You can link a key to a string, an image file, audio, or anything. This is a big departure for Oracle’s traditional database customers. It will be interesting to see if NoSQL advocates embrace this offering from Oracle.

Another Oracle Open World announcement was its new Big Data Appliance, which can be used by customers as an end-to-end solution for Big Data. The Oracle Big Data Appliance is a new engineered system that includes an open source distribution of Apache Hadoop, Oracle NoSQL Database, Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop, Oracle Loader for Hadoop, and an open source distribution of R.

“With the explosion of data in the past decade, including more machine-generated data and social data, companies are faced with the challenge of acquiring, organizing and analyzing this data to make better business decisions. New technologies, such as Hadoop, offer some relief, but don’t provide a holistic solution for customers’ Big Data needs,” said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president, Oracle Server Technologies. “With today’s announcement, Oracle becomes the first vendor to offer customers a complete and integrated set of products to address critical Big Data requirements, unlock efficiencies, simplify management and create data insights that maximize business value.”

While it is debatable that Oracle is the “first” to the table here, it is laudable that they are participating in such a big way.

Oracle was not finished. Also during Oracle Open World the company announced its solution for extreme analytics dubbed Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine. This system combines Oracle’s proven Business Intelligence Foundation with enhanced visualization capabilities and performance optimizations, an optimized version of the Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database with analytic extensions, and a highly scalable Oracle server designed specifically for in-memory business intelligence.

Oracle Exalytics enables organizations to make decisions faster in the context of rapidly shifting business conditions while broadening user adoption of business intelligence (BI) though the introduction of interactive visualization capabilities that make every user an analyst.

“We are very impressed with the advanced analytics and interactivity enabled by Oracle Exalytics,” said John Hood, vice president and Chief Information Officer, Key Energy Services. “We’re able to rapidly slice and dice information all the way from the highest levels to the detailed level. The interactivity of the Oracle Exalytics user interface will drive up the usage of BI, and enable our users to get in and quickly find the information that they need to make impactful changes within their business.”

Oracle also announced its plans for upcoming editions of Java at the JavaOne conference in early October. Java 8 and Java 9 will bring added support for multicore processing and Big Data. For Java 9, the company plans a self-tuning Java Virtual Machine. Additionally, Oracle revealed plans for an updated version of JavaFX, version 2.0. JavaFX is Oracle’s Java development platform and the update will deliver improvements for data-driven business applications, improved transparency and an attempt to replace any closed code with open code. The company did make it clear that it does not plan to release JavaFX as open source.

IBM Product Announcements

Early in the quarter IBM announced the Smart Analytics System 5710, which is a database appliance for business intelligence and data analytics targeted at the SMB market. The IBM Smart Analytics System 5710 is based on IBM System x, runs Linux, and includes InfoSphere Warehouse Departmental Edition and Cognos 10 Business Intelligence Reporting and Query.

The announcement of this appliance was somewhat lost in the shuffle of Oracle’s marketing blitz for its similar Oracle Database Appliance, also announced last week. But IBM’s offering is geared and pre-configured for quick deployment of analytics and business intelligence capabilities.

The IBM Smart Analytics System 5710 is powered by the InfoSphere Warehouse Departmental Edition which is built on a DB2 data server, and features Optim Performance Manager, DB2 Workload Manager, Deep Compression and Multidimensional clustering.

The IBM Smart Analytics System 5710 provides key capabilities of reporting, analysis and dashboards to enable fast answers to key business questions delivered as a cost-effective solution designed for rapid deployment. It allows users to quickly extract maximum insight and value from multiple data sources and deliver a consistent view of information across all business channels.

It also provides cubing services giving users a multidimensional view of data stored in a relational database. Users can create, edit, import, export, and deploy cube models over the relational warehouse schema to perform deeper multi-dimensional analysis of multiple business variables improving both profitability and customer satisfaction. Cubing services also provide optimization techniques to dramatically improve the performance of OLAP queries.

Additionally, the powerful, yet simple, data mining capabilities enable integrated analytics of both structured and unstructured data in the system. Standard data mining models are supported and can be developed via drag and drop in an intuitive design environment.

So what does it cost? The starting price is just under $50K. Furthermore, the new offering is part of the IBM Smart Analytics System family, which consists of solutions that span multiple hardware platforms and architectures, including the mainframe (System z).

Indeed, the quarter was dominated by Big Data news and announcements from IBM, many of which were made at its annual Information on Demand (IOD) conference in Las Vegas, NV. One of the bigger Big Data related announcements that came out of IOD was IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, which broadens access to big data analytics accessible to more corporate users. InfoSphere BigInsights can be used to analyze traditional structured data along with unstructured data (for example, audio, video, large text files, images, social media, click streams, and so on) deliver insights into the data and allowing decision makers to act quickly.

So what is it? InfoSphere BigInsights is a software platform designed to help firms discover and analyze business insights hidden in large volumes of a diverse range of data. To help firms derive value from such data in an efficient manner, InfoSphere BigInsights incorporates several open source projects (including Apache Hadoop) and a number of IBM-developed technologies. On the open source side it includes Apache Hadoop, Pig (a high-level programming language and runtime environment for Hadoop), Jaql (a high-level query language based on JavaScript Object Notation, which also supports SQL), Hive (a data warehouse infrastructure), HBase (a column-oriented data storage environment), Flume (a facility for collecting and loading data into Hadoop), Lucene (text search and indexing technology), Avro (data serialization technology), ZooKeeper (a coordination service for distributed applications) and Oozie (workflow/job orchestration technology).

In addition to the open source software, InfoSphere BigInsights also includes IBM-developed technologies such as a text analysis engine and supporting development tool, a data exploration tool for business analysts, enterprise software integration, and various platform enhancements to simplify administration and help improve runtime performance.

InfoSphere BigInsights on the cloud is available in both basic and enterprise editions with the options of public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. The basic edition is an entry-level offering available at no charge that helps organizations learn how to do big data analytics. Clients can seamlessly move to the enterprise edition when ready and set up Hadoop clusters in under 30 minutes to start analyzing data with low usage rates starting at $0.60 per cluster per hour.

IBM also announced its Cognos Mobile software for the iPad at IOD. This offering brings the rich business intelligence capabilities of Cognos software to iPad users. Cincinnati Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the United States with more than 1.2 million visitors annually, uses Cognos on the iPad to give management instant access, and a single view of visitor and business information to drive new revenue and improve member visits. The flexibility of mobile business analytics allows managers to bring together sales and attendance data on their iPads from wherever they are inside the park to track purchase patterns and adjust marketing spend based on that information. Using Cognos software, the Zoo has increased in-park spending by 25 percent this year.

IBM also announced IBM InfoSphere Information Server 8.7 with a connector to Netezza and IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management 10 software that unifies IBM’s MDM capabilities into a single product.

Finally, and also in October, IBM announced the release of Data Studio 3.1.  IBM Data Studio is a tool for database developers and administrators to assist in managing, administering and developing heterogeneous database environments for increased productivity. Data Studio offers database developers and DBAs an integrated, modular environment for productive administration of DB2, as well as collaborative database development tools for DB2, Informix, Oracle, and Sybase.

The new release, not only includes enhancements to the previous version, but also combines new functionality from other IBM tools for database administration (Optim Database Administrator) and development (Optim Development Studio). With Data Studio 3.1, IBM now offers a single comprehensive product for application development and database administration, all available at no charge. You can download Data Studio from IBM’s developerWorks site at http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/im/data/.

Microsoft Product Announcement

Microsoft moved closer to a production release of SQL Server 2012 as it offered up a release termed RC0, or Release Candidate 0. This new version of SQL Server is heavily anticipated as it merges SQL Server to the cloud. SQL Server 2012 RC0 enables a cloud-ready information platform that will help organizations unlock insights across the organization as well as quickly build solutions and extend data across on-premises and public cloud backed by mission critical capabilities.

You can download SQL Server 2012 RC0 at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28145.

MySQL Product Announcement

This quarter also saw the release of the MySQL Community Server 5.6.3 DMR (Development Milestone Release). MySQL 5.6 builds on MySQL 5.5 and delivers higher performance and scalability. Highlights of the improvements incorporated in this release include Parallel Event Execution (multi-threaded slave), Performance Schema improvements, and some nice Optimizer enhancements.

MySQL replication now supports a multi-threaded slave executing replication events from the master across different databases in parallel. This can result in significant improvements in application throughput in certain situations.

Optimizer improvements include:

  • Improvements to EXPLAIN, which now supports DELETE, INSERT, REPLACE, and UPDATE statements (in past releases MySQL EXPLAIN provided information only on SELECT statements).
  • A Batched Key Access (BKA) Join algorithm that uses both index access to the joined table and a join buffer. Benefits of BKA include improved join performance due to more efficient table scanning.
  • More efficient handling of subqueries in the FROM clause.
  • A tracing capability for users who file bugs against the optimizer and want to provide more information that will help resolve the bug.
And improvements to the Performance Schema include: instrumentation for stages and statements, the ability to instrument sockets, statistics about connections to the server, and improved control over instrumentation for tables.So Ends Another Year…And we come to the end of another year in the database marketplace. It was a somewhat typical year which saw acquisitions and lawsuits, strong financial performances and great new technology. If you manage or use data in your profession, you’ll want to keep up-to-date on the happenings in the realm of database systems during 2012, so be sure to check back and read each quarterly edition of The Database Report!

 

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About Craig Mullins

Craig S. Mullins is a data management strategist and principal consultant for Mullins Consulting, Inc. He has three decades of experience in the field of database management, including working with DB2 for z/OS since Version 1. Craig is also an IBM Information Champion and is the author of two books: DB2 Developer’s Guide and Database Administration:The Complete Guide to Practices and Procedures. You can contact Craig via his website.

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