How badly will the recession hurt perceived enterprise luxuries like data warehousing and analytics? For both the vendor community and users alike, the answer to that questions could very much determine how well the enterprise tech industry emerges from the slowdown.
There's an interesting article on B-Eye-Network.com this week from Colin White, founder of BI Research. White is an expert on data management and warehousing, two areas that would seem to take a hard hit as enterprises struggle to cope with diminished revenues. His take is that while the gut reaction of most enterprise managers is to put warehousing on the back burner for now, in reality it should become a top priority due to the fact that enterprises are dealing with diminished data loads. This should make it easier to take important steps like setting up a thorough data quality regime, one that does more than separate "good" data from "bad" and instead provides a range of indicators that take into account the changing value of data over time and across applications.
Firms that take this crucial step, he says, should emerge from the recession with a strong competitive advantage over those that cannot fathom the value of the data held in their vaults.
One of the chief problems in evaluating warehousing and analytic platforms is the sheer number of systems and vendors plying the market these days. That's one of the reasons Forrester issued this report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of all the top enterprise data warehouse (EDW) systems. It offers reviews and analysis of all the top players like IBM, Microsoft, Netezza, Oracle and Teradata, providing a rating system based on "key competitive differentiators" covering everything from application and middleware integration to licensing and packaging.
The list of available systems seems to be growing by the day, however. A company called Greenplum recently released a new data-loading system that uses massively parallel processing (MPP) technology to hit speeds of 4 TB per hour. The company calls it Scatter/Gather Streaming (SG Streaming) due to its ability to move data from multiple source systems to every node on a database, eliminating the bottlenecks inherent in single-source solutions that utilize only a few nodes in parallel.
Meanwhile, Netezza and Kalido have teamed up to provide a "model-driven" platform linking Netazza's appliances with Kalido's Information Engine software. The goal is to generate a number of pre-configured solutions targeting key industries, such as life sciences, financial services and consumer goods, with fully integrated software modules, load processing capability and dashboards. The devices will also enable easier customization for individual users with tools like automated administration and configuration capabilities, as well as schema management and BI configuration.
When times are tough, there is a tendency to become short-sighted. Who has time to think about positioning for next year when there's a chance you won't make it through the next quarter? But if every setback really is an opportunity, then this downturn may be the chance to build a vastly more effective data management structure for the enterprise.