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August 18, 2005
8. New & Improved
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by Brian Moran, [email protected]
IBM recently announced that it will no longer sell IBM DB2 OLAP Server, an OEM version of Hyperion Solutions' Essbase product. This announcement heralds a potentially major change in the competitive landscape of the database world, regardless of whether you think an OLAP server is in your own short-term future.
Here's some background. IBM has been reselling Essbase as DB2 OLAP Server for about 10 years. Today, IBM has several relational business intelligence (BI) technologies built into IBM DB2 that don't come from Hyperion. Although DB2 doesn't offer a full-featured OLAP solution like those that Microsoft and Oracle offer directly to their customers, IBM's announcement means that DB2 customers must now shop outside of IBM if they're interested in buying a full-featured OLAP server.
That's not necessarily a major problem. After all, existing DB2 OLAP Server customers can simply move to the Essbase line that's still the flagship product of Hyperion. But for some time, the trend in the database space has been to embed more and more features and capabilities directly into the core database platform. For example, Microsoft has made significant investments in its extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL), reporting, and analytic tools in recent years. Oracle and IBM have both made significant investments in adding competing enabling and integration technologies to their respective database platforms. Gartner and other industry analysts argue that IBM is now at a competitive disadvantage to Microsoft and Oracle because IBM is the only "Big Three" database vendor not currently capable of offering a full OLAP solution as part of its core product. I agree.
What does this mean? Will DB2 users shun IBM if they need a powerful OLAP solution? That's not likely in the short term because the migration to Hyperion will be seamless. But let's be honest, when you buy your OLAP server from the vendor who provides your core relational database, your decision-making process is completely different from the process of choosing to buy from a third party, and users will wonder why IBM chose to sever the relationship. Hyperion's relationship with IBM currently accounts for a significant part of Hyperion's revenue, directly and indirectly. Oracle and Microsoft both have massive war chests to finance their OLAP engines. One has to wonder whether the smaller Hyperion has the cash flow and revenue to make R&D investments at the same level as Oracle and Microsoft. I suspect that IBM's announcement will lead many Essbase and DB2 OLAP Server customers to evaluate other OLAP solutions. Microsoft is particularly well positioned to attack this market because its price points for SQL Server are relatively low and Analysis Services can point to any relational engine seamlessly.
One also has to wonder about IBM's true long-term plans for OLAP. Current statements from IBM attempt to downplay the importance of having an integrated OLAP solution. However, many of Microsoft largest gains in the database market have been from customers who buy SQL Server for its complete feature set, not just the relational engine. Customers love the fact that Microsoft offers compelling reporting, OLAP, and ETL solutions in the box. Honestly, I can't imagine that IBM truly believes it can compete in the database market over the long term without a built-in OLAP solution. Will IBM build or buy? I wonder. Either way, IBM will be getting a late start behind OLAP leaders Microsoft and Oracle.
For more insight into the IBM decision, I encourage you to read the Enterprise Systems news story "IBM and Hyperion Call It Quits" by Stephen Swoyer at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=11531:7B3DA . AMR Research provides an analytical article by John Hagerty, "IBM and Hyperion End Embedded OLAP Relationship," at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=11534:7B3DA . You'll need to register to read the AMR report, but it's free.
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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
Microsoft Rewards Developer Creativity Microsoft announced the Microsoft Connected Systems 2005 Developer Competition, a global, skill-based competition intended to highlight and reward creativity and programming excellence with SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk 2004/2006. The competition is open to any technology developer, and competitors can be either individuals or organizations. Entries will be judged on creativity, innovation, design and technical excellence, usefulness, usability and value. All competition entrants must be registered and have submitted a description of the application they are entering into the competition by August 30, 2005. The official closing date for final competition entries is September 15, 2005. The competition features extravagant prizes including a grand prize of $50,000. For more information, official rules, and competition registration, visit the competition Web site at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1153D:7B3DA
Sponsor: The new Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System
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3. News & Views
Have you been stumped by a mysterious business intelligence (BI) problem? Are you looking for BI solutions to practical, everyday problems? You'll find answers in SQL Server Magazine's new online column, From the Casebook of B.I. Powers, Consulting Detective. This entertaining monthly column presents practical BI solutions with tongue-in-cheek humor in a format that will challenge your deductive powers. In B.I. Powers' first appearance, "The Case of the Missing Link," a SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services administrator goes missing for more than a week, and the intrepid B.I. Powers must find the poor sap. In the process, he reveals a solution to an all-too-common Reporting Services dilemma. Follow the exploits of B.I. Powers at
A recent Microsoft-commissioned report by Security Innovation presents a role-based comparison of the relative security of three different database-server solutions: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 database server; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 running MySQL database server; and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 running Oracle 10g database server. In comparing the database applications by themselves, the study found that SQL Server 2000 had zero vulnerabilities in the one-year time period, MySQL had 7 vulnerabilities, and Oracle 10g had 30 vulnerabilities. The results of the study are described in the white paper "Get the Facts: Role Comparison Security Report: Database Server Role," which you can read at
"Do you feel prepared to migrate to SQL Server 2005?" Here are the results from the 51 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):
"Does your organization use SQL Server's out-of-the box BI tools?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=11543:7B3DA ) and submit your vote for
4. Events and Resources
Continuous or realtime backup systems help avoid the danger of losing data if your system fails after backup by providing realtime protection. In this free Web seminar, learn how to integrate these systems with your existing backup infrastructure, how to apply continuous-protection technologies to your Windows-based servers, and more. Sign up today, and learn how you can quickly roll back data not just to the last snapshot or backup, but to any point in time!
Celebrate the release of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 at SQL Server Magazine Connections, November 7-10, in Las Vegas. All attendees receive a copy of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005! Register now to save $100, and attend sessions at Microsoft ASP Connections for FREE!
As DBAs and developers begin to migrate their current SQL Server databases and applications to SQL Server 2005, they'll need a solid understanding of the new security infrastructure to ensure data security. In this free Web seminar, you'll learn all about the new features designed to successfully secure your SQL Server environment, including password enhancements, data encryption, DDL triggers, code signing and more!
Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Attend and receive a 1-year membership to PASS and a 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
5. Featured White Paper
In this free white paper, get the tips you've been looking for to save time and money in achieving IT security and regulatory compliance. Find out how you can simplify these manually intensive, compliance-related tasks that reduce IT efficiency. Turn these mandates into automated and cost effective solutions today!
6. Peer to Peer
Hot Tip: Another Source of Missing SQL Server Performance Monitor Counters
by Brian Moran, [email protected]
In March, Brian wrote about a bug in SQL Server that could cause you to lose Performance Monitor Counters if SQL Server was stopped and restarted while Performance Monitor was accessing metrics. In response to that tip, a reader sent in another Performance Monitor counter gotcha. Read the reader's tip today at
Temporary tables are a great T-SQL developer feature that lets you store and process intermediate results. In his August SELECT TOP(X) column, Michael Otey tells you about seven ways you can manage the temporary tables your T-SQL procedures use. Read this article today and post your comments at
Information about recent Microsoft Knowledge Base articles used to be hard to get hold of. But now, Microsoft has made it easy to find the latest KB articles through a public RSS feed. Kevin gives you the link to this feed, and tells you about some of his favorite recent postings. Take a look at the feed, and let Kevin know what you think today at
Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
SQL Server General Discussion: Using a Linked Server IP Address in a Query
T-SQL: MIN Not Working As Expected
Performance: Data Purge
Development: Help with FOR XML EXPLICIT
SQL Server 2005 Management Tools: Management Studio vs. Enterprise Manager
SQL Server 2000/7.0 General Discussion: Standard or Enterprise Edition?
With SQL Server 2005 right around the corner, it's important to note that SQL Server Magazine is on target to deliver comprehensive coverage of all betas and the final release. If you aren't already a subscriber, now is the time to subscribe to gain exclusive access to the entire SQL Server Magazine online article database (over 2300 articles) and save 44% off the cover price!
The 2005 PASS Community Summit, September 27-30 in Grapevine (Dallas), Texas, is your final chance to get in-depth information about Microsoft SQL Server 2005 before its upcoming official launch. Register by August 31 for just $1495 for the LARGEST user-driven SQL Server educational event! Click here:
8. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr, [email protected]
Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Send us a short note about how your favorite product solved a SQL Server problem for you, and if we print your submission in the magazine's Hands On department we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your email today to [email protected]!
ATX Software announced Forms2Net, a migration tool that lets you convert Oracle Forms applications to equivalent Microsoft .NET applications. The product works at the application level and doesn't affect the database schema or data. Users choose whether they want to continue using an Oracle database or migrate to SQL Server. The data-layer connectivity is based on Data Access Components on top of ADO.NET technology, which lets the user work with different database providers independently. The resulting code is C# for .NET Windows Forms. Future releases of the tool will support a choice between C# or Visual Basic code and between Windows Forms and ASP.NET (.NET Web Forms). The current release supports Oracle Forms 4.5, 5.0, and 6i and is an add-in to Visual Studio. Forms2Net is licensed on a per-project basis, and pricing is 90 euros per licensed module. For more information or to get a free trial license key, contact ATX Software at [email protected]
BindView announced Compliance Center 2.1, software that helps organizations translate regulatory mandates into specific IT security controls that can be documented and enforced for demonstrating due care. Whereas previous versions of the product supported compliance at the OS level, the latest release includes specific support for securing and assessing SQL Server and Oracle data stores and Microsoft Exchange. The product comes with a library of requirements for security controls and automatically assesses your environment to let you know what best practices you're following--and where you're falling short. When the software finds a problem, customers can use the product's closed-loop remediation capability to track required system changes and confirm that any corrective action is complete and accurate. Pricing for Compliance Center 2.1 starts at $200 per server. For more information, contact BindView at 800-813-5869, 713-561-4000, or [email protected]
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Copyright 2005, Penton MediaSQL Server Magazine is a division of Penton Media, Inc., 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2005, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.