Sunday, May 20, 2007

Open source BI vendors get busy

A useful article from Computer Business Review. Has anyone got any experience with Pentaho or Jaspersoft data integration tools being used in anger that they'd like to share?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Celona Evolve - "progressive integration" competitor for Oracle Data Integrator?

A piece of work I've been doing has involved taking a cursory look at Celona Evolve, though sadly I haven't been in a position actually to give it a go.

Coincidentally, this week Bloor's Philip Howard has written about it at IT-Director.

For the Oracle-ite, it's positioned in a similar market segment to Oracle Data Integrator (formerly Sunopsis); providing traditional ETL but also talking up continuous (or "progressive") integration (EAI / SOA / EII - take your pick of acronyms).

So far, successful references for Celona are hard to find - always a problem for startups. And it's a UK company; my personal experience says that tends to be a disadvantage too. You may get a few good early adopters over here, but going to the States can be a killer. At present the product seems to rely heavily on Celona's accompanying services; they won't be able to grow properly until either the product is easier to use, or there's a large independent base of Celona skills in the market (as there is for other tools like Informatica, OWB, etc).

They're obviously gearing up for a more public stance; they "launched" on 8th May (hence the analyst briefing). Good luck, we'll see how things progress

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Is big software now like big pharma?

An interesting summary at Barrons of a VC panel at the Software 2007 conference. The worry is that big companies like MSFT, ORCL and IBM have so much CIO mindshare that there's none left for the little guys; the richer get richer and the poor (or small) are shut out.

Even the SaaS players trailing behind Salesforce are tiny; as Ted Schlein says “They are all gnats. They are all tiny. Not one would be a small division in one of these larger software companies.” (Actually, even Salesforce's (Q407) revenue is just $144M; our Larry could buy it from petty cash...).

Moving swiftly on

I've reached the end of a nine month engagement, where I've been helping to maintain a 12 year old system; originally developed I suspect on Oracle7, and still running on Forms/Reports 6i. It's been interesting mainly as an example of how to start to rebuild a team's understanding of a system a team (mainly contractors) has been churned, original documentation is hopelessly outdated, and the institution's understanding of its own systems has been undermined.

We started to replace a LAN full of (flakey, unindexed, heavyweight) documents with a wiki-based repository of (current, hyperlinked, searchable, lightweight) 'bits of knowledge' that can be combined in various useful ways. One or two other groups at the client had already started to use PmWiki, so we built on that. When I get a chance I'll post specifically on how I found PmWiki as a tool, and how it compares with other wikis (TWiki and MoinMoin) that I've used in the past.

Now I've started with a new client, where I am advancing my career by working on a data migration study for a 20+ year old system, based on a pre-relational database, whose name of course I can't mention here. The good news is that the 'new technology stack' is firmly Oracle based; but the most interesting part will be dealing with the political and operational issues involved in migrating what are literally the core systems for this business.

On the way, there should be some interesting comparisons of EAI/ETL/EII tools; I hope we see Oracle Data Integrator put through its paces on the way. Certainly I should be able to post more on 'integration' generally for the next few months.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sonic's Dave Chappell joins Oracle

Oracle must be well pleased to pick up Dave Chappell, formerly a VP and chief evangelist at Progress Software's Sonic division (he's still on the management team there, according to this link). When that gets taken down, you can find his O'Reilly author profile here.

Dave will be development VP for SOA/ESB. I wonder which products that includes - Oracle Data Integrator perhaps? Good luck Dave, enjoy the ride at Oracle - I hope we meet again at another JavaOne some day.

PS, don't confuse him with any other Dave Chappell (like this one who runs an eponymous IT consultancy and speaks (for example) on BPEL, or this one who (I think it's safe to say) has no IT connection at all.

Java Caching for Oracle Apps 11i

Steve Chan's article is about the use of caching interesting; now how long will it take for Oracle to put him together with the guys from Tangosol that they acquired in March?

Who knows, they could even finish off JSR 107: JCACHE - Java Temporary Caching API which Oracle submitted in 2001, and for which Tangosol's Cameron Purdy has been tech lead since sometime around 2002/3. Heck, most of the companies listed in the expert group have gone to the retirement home long since (names like Gemstone, Blusestone, iPlanet and SeeBeyond). Not bad for a project that was expected to take 12 weeks...

Toodle pip!