Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cache in the bank - Oracle buys Tangosol

Oracle has picked up Tangosol - and its caching product Coherence - for the traditional undisclosed sum.

Well done Cameron Purdy. For a couple of years I worked at SpiritSoft, and we competed with Tangosol. Our engineers always said we had the better architecture - but Tangosol whipped our ass good anyhow. Cameron's team delivered a robust product and made it easy for people to buy - and the fact that they now claim 1500 implementations is testimony to lots of hard work all round.

We competed around the JCache JSR 107, which must be the slowest JSR to get to a review draft (and ironically, it was originally sponsored by Oracle). This 2002 TSS thread was already talking about excessive delays; since then very little seems to have happened - mind you the JCP (Java Community Process) site is having an off day, so perhaps it came out while I wasn't looking.

Soon after that TSS exchange Cameron joined the JSR 107 expert group, and IIRC he became the spec lead. But still no delivery. Perhaps now Oracle will push the standard some more? Anyway, all that competition is water long under the bridge, so let's recognise a winner, and as Cameron would say:


Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Backus - father of FORTRAN - RIP

As well as being the father of the first high level language suitable for numerical work - and of Algol 60 which can be taken as the root of most of today's widely used languages like C, C++ and Java - John Backus lives on as coauthor of Backus Naur Form (BNF) which we still use in the Oracle docs - for example:

relational_table ::= CREATE [GLOBAL TEMPORARY] TABLE [schema.]table

Monday, March 12, 2007

Vitria is now private; Iona buys C24; Informatica Integration on demand

As I noted in October, Vitria is being taken private by its founders. Shareholders have now approved, and the transaction closed on 7th March.

This marks the end of a rollercoaster ride on NASDAQ (and by rollercoaster I mean there was a sharp climb at the beginning, but after a series of humps, bumps and loops you end up right back on the ground). Vitria's results over the last three years show everything gradually declining - revenue, assets, license sales. One positive - losses have also been reduced. Can Chang and Skeen turn the ship around, or is this just another step towards the sunset retirement home for distressed software companies?

Meanwhile Iona has picked up (London) City specialist integration boutique C24 for an undisclosed price. Given C24's small size - 12 employees - there should be no major digestion problem for Iona as long as C24's customers are kept sweet. Good luck to the C24 guys, a couple of whom I met while I was at SpiritSoft.

Finally, Informatica has launched the "first and only" on-demand data integration service. The "On Demand Data Replicator" - yours free for 30 days, and $1500/month from then on - is initially aimed at customers; SaaS vendors like RightNow and NetSuite are next in line. The integration is (I guess) intended to be from your internal apps to your hosted apps, and vice versa.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oracle captures Hyperion - a well planned thrust at SAP?

Lots of buzz today about Orace's rumoured - then confirmed - acquisition of Hyperion (formerly known as, and still largely known for, the eponymous Essbase multi-dimensional database). Oracle bloggers like Mark Rittman have concentrated on the BI side of things, but it is worth remembering that Hyperion has also assembled a set of financial applications (mainly planning and modelling, as you’d expect) - not to mention a BPM product line. That could be very interesting as an add-on to Oracle Apps (not to mention PeopleSoft and Siebel).

Looking at their latest Q2 results, there’s no breakdown of revenue between product lines - but it’s interesting that the headcount is 1745 in Americas, 632 in EMEA and only 212 in APAC. Oracle’s wider/deeper international network could give a big boost to sales in Asia (as well as making admin savings at home). They'll keep the salesforce but dump the top-heavy administration.

The financial market seems reasonably positive about the news (see for example Barron's Eric Savitz. As well as providing a sell-up for Oracle Apps, Peoplesoft and Siebel, this can also get Oracle's foot further into the door at SAP sites.

    "Hyperion is the latest move in our strategy to expand Oracle’s offerings to SAP customers,” said Oracle President Charles Phillips. "... Now Oracle's Hyperion software will be the lens through which SAP's most important customers view and analyze their underlying SAP ERP data."

There is also a feeling that Oracle got a good price, catching Hyperion with its share price down. The impact on other BI players like Business Objects and Cognos is mixed: M&A activity might be expected to push up their price - but their share prices already factored in a bit of a punt on Larry Ellison coming round to tea; now he's spent his money on Hyperion, the others may well fall back.

Good luck to the Oracle BPM, BI and Apps product managers trying to make sense of it all!

PS: Another good take here from Curt Monash at DBMS2