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November 06, 2009

Back from Hiatus - Summary Update 2

Back from Hiatus - Summary Update 1

GoodData

GoodData has launched and they are providing a cloud based analytics platform for use in integration with online apps.  Starting with some initial focus on SalesForce data, but working hard on expanding the list of ISV’s who choose to provide their customers analytics via GoodData.

GoodData was started by “good guy” Czech serial entrepreneur Roman Stanek (NetBeans) and has just raised funds from Andressen Horowitz and appointed Time O’Reilly to the board.  GoodData is interesting because it is simple, accessible and available on demand.  Still early days but think Roman is on to another winner here.  Certainly recommend any ISV building cloud based apps to look at their platform.

Mark Logic

I was keen to learn more about Mark Logic as I didn’t understand their products in any detail.  David and Ron were more than obliging and I sat down with them last week for a run though.

In short, I am impressed by the technology of Mark Logic.  It is a database that uses XML as the schema data model and XQuery as the primary query language.  But it is far more than and XML extension bolted on top of a traditional db engine (such as some of the XML capabilities in the more traditional RBDMS vendors).  Internally Mark Logic has all the important DBMS components but they are designed and optimized around the XML schema (query processor, indexing etc) from the ground up.  I also understand they have distributed multi-node capability, something which is still quite rare over in the general purpose RBDMS world.

Mark Logic has a history in the content publishing market, as you would expect, because much “published” data is naturally represented in XML.  I did sense the team at Mark Logic is keen to break away from this niche a little (while at the same time respecting that this will likely remain their primary market).  Exactly how they go about this isn’t entirely clear to me as the world has kind of moved on from the “XML for everything” excitement that existed in the early 2000’s.  There will be plenty of case-by-case requirements, but a piecemeal market is hard to drive business development.  But publishing remains a clear staple and I am sure they can leverage this into a few more.

I did get somewhat excited when we were talking about serializing JSON in and out of Mark Logic.  This is very topical in the web app market as we see a push towards client based web applications and web service dishing up JSON.  But this is not necessarily a money spinner as there are “free” offerings servicing this need already (CouchDB, MongoDB etc).  I understand Mark Logic is proprietary license so it might be hard to gain traction here.

Kognitio

I spoke briefly with Kognitio a couple of weeks back.  I hear very little about Kognitio so I was keen to speak to them about their progress.  Kognitio is a UK based company and provides a data warehouse appliance, while only launching in the US last year they have a much longer history in the UK.

Kognitio seems to be taking an alternative approach to achieving growth than the one many of the US vendors are using.  While most of the US companies are venture backed and are pushing hard to gain market share, Kognitio on the other hand is privately backed and seems to be taking a slower and more methodical approach.  This has obviously served them well in the UK but it will be interesting how that plays out into the highly crowed, highly competitive US data warehousing scene.  It may turn out to be a true test to see who really does win out of the tortoise and the hare.

Infobright

The big news at Infobright is that Miriam is no longer CEO and she has been replaced by a temporary CEO, board member Mark Burton.  I spoke with Mark a couple of days ago and the reasons cited were around future direction and the next stage in the company’s lifecycle etc.  They are still sorting this all out and expect to be ready to start discussing their new direction in a few weeks.  In saying that, when we spoke I got the feeling their positioning will still very tied to the MySQL customer base, something I tend to disagree with.  But it would be premature to speculate and instead will wait to further information is available.

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