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Philip Howard

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Which kind of cloud database is right for you?

Deep Dive In the second of two articles about cloud-based data storage, the focus is on the options available and how to decide on one approach rather than the other. (Part 1 is here). Find the keys Not-so-relational databases do not store data in tables – at least, not the sort of tables we associate with relational databases. …
Philip Howard, 19 May 2011
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When is a database not so relational?

Deep dive In the first of two articles on cloud-based data storage, we shall explore the drawbacks of relational databases. There are two types of databases you can use when hosting data in the cloud: a relational database or one that is so not so relational. For example, Amazon offers a choice of SimpleDB (not so relational) or MySQL ( …
Philip Howard, 17 May 2011

Regarding IBM enterprise data management

At its Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas last week, IBM announced a raft of new capabilities and initiatives with respect to IMS (version 10, available 10/26, whose main new features are around supporting SOA), DB2 and ancillary management and development capabilities. I shall be concentrating here on DB2 (version 9. …
Philip Howard, 21 Oct 2007

Data warehousing: upgrade, extend or replace?

The B-eye Network recently conducted a survey on behalf of Dataupia. which asked, among other things, companies whether they would consider a "rip and replace" approach to solving whatever data warehousing problems they might have. Seventy-five per cent of respondents said no. Now, apart from the fact that I find the term "rip …
Philip Howard, 21 Oct 2007

Product data quality in the information supply chain

Readers may recall that I wrote last year about Silver Creek Systems®. At that time I extolled its capabilities for product data quality (matching, cleansing and classification) through the use of semantically-based content profiling and attribute identification. This is particularly relevant when information comes into the …
Philip Howard, 03 Sep 2007
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Data warehousing update, part 1

A lot has been happening on the data warehousing front lately. Earlier this summer, Oracle announced its Information Appliance initiative and, in particular, a partnership with PANTA Systems. Then, more recently, ParAccel has announced a product re-positioning, Calpont is finally talking about its entry into the market, and both …
Philip Howard, 29 Aug 2007
triangular warning sign featuring exclamation mark

Data governance and the holy grail

Yes, I know this sounds a bit like the eighth Harry Potter book. In fact, what I want to discuss are some implications of data governance that I don't think everyone has thought through yet. Let me start by assuming that you have gone the whole hog over data governance. That is, you have set up a data governance council, you …
Philip Howard, 24 Aug 2007
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Could open source BI close out incumbents?

JasperSoft has just released version 2.0 of its software, which makes this a good time not just to consider JasperSoft's latest capabilities, but also open-source business intelligence (BI) more generally. The two big beasts in open source BI are Pentaho and JasperSoft. These are broadly similar in their range of capabilities …
Philip Howard, 28 Jun 2007
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IBM and Informix tie down Cheetah

I have periodically written about Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) ever since IBM acquired it. Initially, IBM had the wrong messaging—all of its databases were marketed under the DB2 brand, which didn't go down too well—but this has now changed with the company's refocus on information management in general and Information on …
Philip Howard, 27 Jun 2007
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When acquisitions are bad news

Acquisitions may or may not be good deals for the purchaser, but at best they pose serious questions for the users of the acquired company. In my recent article TIBCO acquires Spotfire: why?, I discussed the possibility that TIBCO was likely to be focusing the Spotfire BI solution in a different direction from previously, which …
Philip Howard, 26 Jun 2007

TIBCO buys Spotfire: why?

TIBCO recently announced that it had acquired Spotfire, the business intelligence vendor. Since this is not an immediately obvious acquisition, the question is why? According to the press release issued by TIBCO, "the Spotfire acquisition is a natural extension of TIBCO's Predictive Business strategy, by offering customers …
Philip Howard, 25 Jun 2007
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The enterprise data warehouse vision

Traditionally, enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) were regarded as systems of record. Thought of simplistically, queries were either run directly off the EDW or from a data mart that referred back to the EDW as and when necessary (hence its status as a system of record). However, it is now clear that that definition of an EDW no …
Philip Howard, 29 May 2007
Business Objects

Business Objects gobbles Inxight

Business Objects' stated intention of becoming a $2bn company was never going to be achieved only through organic growth, and it was inevitable that there would be a number of acquisitions along the way, of which the latest is Inxight Software. Inxight was originally created as a spin-off from Xerox Parc in 1996 and it …
Philip Howard, 24 May 2007
fingers pointing at man

Dataupia: a utopian vision for databases?

Over the course of the last few months I have written a couple of times speculating on the development of appliances that might be more generally deployed than the very specific products we have seen to date. In particular, in my last article on this subject I discussed the scope for improving the performance of merchant …
Philip Howard, 15 May 2007

HP Neoview comes out to play

Hewlett-Packard sort of announced its data warehouse appliance (if that is the right term—see later) last autumn. The company refers to this as a soft launch in the sense that they didn't talk much about it except to a few beta clients. Well, now it has had its hard launch (which is officially version 2.0) and the company is …
Philip Howard, 10 May 2007
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On Business Objects' Cartesis acquisition

Business Objects last week announced that it is to acquire Cartesis, arguably the most important pure play vendor in the corporate performance management market (CPM - Business Objects refers to enterprise performance management - EPM) that was (hitherto) left standing. There are two interesting aspects to this: first, the …
Philip Howard, 30 Apr 2007
Microsoft excel teaser

Spreadsheet security? What spreadsheet security!

Comment I have written before, and will say again, that Microsoft Excel does not have security. It does actually have some security features but most users don't know about them and, if they do, they are frequently not implemented. In any case, as Microsoft has explicitly stated, the security features in Excel are not actually there to …
Philip Howard, 06 Apr 2007

Oracle buys another database

Comment Oracle and IBM are both competitors and partners. In the case of databases they are certainly rivals, with Oracle 10g and DB2 going head-to-head at many sites. However, it has occurred to me to wonder if Oracle is seeking to rival IBM's crown as the owner of the most different databases. IBM, of course, owns not only IMS and …
Philip Howard, 13 Mar 2007
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Data governance definitions

I am getting mixed messages about data governance. IBM recently published the results of a survey it had conducted into the use of data governance, which it conducted in conjunction with the NCC. Out of 141 respondents, from companies of all sizes, only seven per cent reported that data governance was neither implemented nor on …
Philip Howard, 22 Jan 2007
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A holistic view of second generation BI

Comment I wrote a series of articles about second generation BI (which I refuse to refer to as Business Intelligence twodotoh) about six months ago. Why then I am returning to it? Because I think it is time to take a step back from the BI market and view it more holistically before we even consider what a next generation environment …
Philip Howard, 18 Jan 2007
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What makes a 5GL?

Comment From time to time vendors in the application development space have claimed 5GL (5th generation language) capabilities. If you think about this for a moment you will realise that this can't be true. The idea of GLs is that each is an abstraction of the former, so we had machine code (on which I cut my teeth as a developer); …
Philip Howard, 17 Jan 2007
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EnterpriseDB: standing out from the crowd

Opinion EnterpriseDB (which is the name of both the company and the product) is normally thought of, by those who have merely heard of it, as being yet another of the open source database vendors. However, this is not the case. As its name suggests, the company is focused on providing an enterprise-class relational database and it …
Philip Howard, 09 Jan 2007
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90 Degree looks to corner BI with Radius

Opinion Back in April, I reported on 90 Degree Software which was at that time developing its product (called Radius), which has now been released. This is an update to that previous article. 90 Degree Software is a privately owned, self-funded company that was established last year in Vancouver. Now, anyone who knows anything about …
Philip Howard, 05 Jan 2007

Data modelling wars

Comment It is actually going a bit far to say that there are truly data modelling wars going on but certainly the users of ERWin are being aggressively targeted by both Sybase with PowerDesigner and Embarcadero with ER/Studio. This is, in part, because ERWin no longer sits within any of CA's core areas of focus, so it hardly surprising …
Philip Howard, 02 Jan 2007

Wanna know how to rate a data warehouse appliance?

One of the major discussion points at Bloor Research's recent conference on "Data Warehousing: the rise of the appliance" was a discussion of the rules (though they might equally be regarded as reference points rather than rules) that might apply to data warehouse appliances as opposed to enterprise data warehouses. I presented …
Philip Howard, 07 Dec 2006