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Forrester: Expect more enterprise data warehouse software bundles

Mark Brunelli, News Editor

Enterprises can expect major software vendors to unveil more preconfigured data warehouse packages in the coming months, according to a new Forrester Wave report.

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The enterprise data warehousing (EDW) software market is growing increasingly competitive with leading vendors -- Oracle, Teradata, IBM-Netezza and SAP-Sybase -- each attempting to get ahead, according to the report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. The report goes on to predict that a key component of their strategies will center on answering customer demand for preconfigured data warehouse bundles.

“Users [and] enterprises are increasingly turning to their data warehousing vendors for a completely preconfigured solution to business problems,” said Forrester analyst James Kobielus, who authored the report. “The business problems might be specific to their industry or specific to a given business process, role or function.”

Forrester Wave: Data warehouse competition hotter than ever

Data warehouse software provides a central repository for trustworthy and up-to-date business information that is used to analyze results and create things such as sales forecasts, marketing campaigns and business intelligence (BI) reports.

The competition for data warehouse market share has been heating up along with customer demand: The big data warehousing software providers have all released significantly new product suites during the past two years, and some have expanded their offerings via acquisitions of specialized analytical database and data warehouse appliance vendors. Oracle, Teradata, SAP-Sybase and IBM lead the market with the most robust data warehousing portfolios, according to Forrester.

“Teradata provides the most scalable, flexible, cloud-capable EDW solution in today's market. Oracle has built its Exadata Database Machine into a formidable new product family,” Kobielus wrote in the Forrester Wave report. “Sybase, recently acquired by SAP, continues to enhance IQ’s massively parallel columnar technology for real-time analytics. IBM has ramped up its EDW solution focus and now sets the pace on petabyte-scale Hadoop integration.”

The report also found that EMC-Greenplum is continuing to demonstrate solid execution; IBM- Netezza has done a good job of integrating in-database analytics into its high-performance data warehouse appliances; Microsoft is offering affordable appliances for the midmarket; and Vertica, which is being acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co., is continuing to enhance its columnar data warehousing architecture.

Vendors are also competing in a data warehousing price war, and that could be good news for buyers. Organizations can now get set up with a reasonable data warehousing appliance at an average starting price of around $20,000 per terabyte, according to Forrester.

“Oracle and IBM-Netezza were prime movers in popularizing [that] price point with their latest-generation appliances,” the report reads, “but Microsoft has done even better with a starting price of $11,000 per terabyte on its Fast Track appliances and $13,000 per terabyte on its new PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse) product.”

Getting to know the preconfigured data warehouse market

IBM-Netezza and Teradata have introduced targeted “analytic solutions” that combine their primary data warehouse appliance platforms with preconfigured data models and tools for BI, advanced analytics and data quality, Kobielus said.

More recently, Oracle in late January introduced its Financial Services Data Warehouse, a preconfigured bundle of software that is geared toward users in the financial services sector and certified to run on Oracle’s Exadata hardware platform.

“We at Forrester expect Oracle to continue to roll out other business-function-tailored solutions for other roles, such as [human resources] and customer analytics, that are equivalent to the Financial Data Warehouse in terms of providing a complete prepackaged solution with Exadata running beneath,” Kobielus said.

The new Financial Services Data Warehouse is composed primarily of software that has been available for the last decade, according to S. Ramakrishnan, Oracle’s group vice president and general manager of financial services analytical applications. The offering is built for rapid deployment and designed to address the cross-functional analytical challenges faced by global financial institutions, he said.

Ramakrishnan added that the Oracle package “is fully physical-ized and all the data structures are completely ready to deploy -- as opposed to [competing offerings] where there is a huge amount of effort involved in taking a logical model or a reference model and actually creating the physical structure through gobs of consulting.”

Just the beginning

The movement toward targeted data warehouse appliances and software bundles is a good thing for user organizations because traditional approaches to data warehousing can be inefficient, time-consuming and downright clumsy, said Joshua Greenbaum, founder and principal consultant with Berkeley, Calif.-based Enterprise Applications Consulting.

“It’s an idea that is starting to come to the fore,” Greenbaum said. “Anything that can accelerate the delivery of really targeted analytics to the line of business is welcome, because data warehousing has not had that approach before.”