Amazon Enters Data Warehousing Field Via Amazon Redshift Service

On November 28, Amazon announced it is entering the data warehousing field by announcing the Amazon Redshift service. Amazon Redshift is build on the ParAccel database platform, which can be accessed using SQL. Users can connect to the Amazon Redshift data warehouse using standard PostgreSQL JDBC or ODBC drivers. In addition, Amazon Redshift is already certified by Jaspersoft and MicroStrategy, two of the leading BI tools in the marketplace.

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NCR to spin off Teradata

NCR announced yesterday that it is going to spin off its data warehousing component, Teradata, into a separate entity. The market reacted favorably to the announcement, sending NCR stock up more than 3% during the day.

This announcement makes sense in that there is little synergy between Teradata and NCR’s other businesses. In addition, Teradata, which has gained the reputation of being one of the most scalable systems for data warehouses, is doing well, bringing in $1.5 billion in revenue in 2005. If Teradata is not acquired by either another company or a private investment firm, it will most likely become the largest company focusing solely on data warehousing company by market cap.

Business Objects and MicroStrategy report Q3 Earnings

On Wednesday, Business Objects reported Q3 earnings of 41 cents per share after adjustment of one-time charges, beating the consensus estimate of 34 cents. Revenue was $310.4 M, ahead of the consensus estimate of $295 M. License revenue was $132 M (up 9% YoY), while service revenue was $179 M (up 27% YoY).

Yesterday, MicroStrategy reported Q3 earnings of $1.32 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.19. Revenue was $77.7 M, also beating the consensus estimate of $74.1 M. Product license revenue was $24.5 M (up 8% YoY), and support/services revenue was $53.2 M (up 23% YoY).

Wall Street cheered the results of both companies, sending Business Objects share up 9% on Thursday MicroStrategy shares up 4% today.

These are good reports for the data warehousing in general, as both companies are important players in the space. Their reports also show that the big software companies, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, do not yet have their business intelligence products quite up to the level of the specialist players yet. Given that this is still a growth area, it remains to be seen if any of these 3 big companies will make a big move (either releasing a next-generation product or acquiring an existing company) in the near future.

Hyperion and Informatica Quarterly Earnings

Two key players in the data warehousing world, Hyperion and Informatica, both posted quarterly earning yesterday. The market gave the two companies very different receptions.

Hyperion posted revenue of $198.5M during the quarter, higher than the consensus estimate of $191M. Both licensing revenue and services revenue were strong. Earnings excluding items were 34 cents, two pennies below the estimate. Despite the earnings shortfall, the stock is trading up today (currently up $0.93 at $37.25). This is most likely because the revenue outlook for next quarter of $210 M to $215 M is higher than the analyst estimate of $204 M.

Informatica posted revenue of $78.9 M, lower than the consensus of $80.3 M. Earnings excluding items were 16 cents per share, higher than the consensus amount of 14 cents a share. Q4 outlook for revenue (87 M to 90 M) was lower than the consensus of 91.1 M, while the Q4 earnings outlook of 16 to 18 cents a share is in line with the consensus of 17 cents a share. Informatica shares are being punished today, down $1.78 to $11.88.

Business Objects Buys Armstrong Laing

BI software vendor Business Objects announced today that it is buying London-based Armstrong Laing for about $56 million in cash. Armstrong Laing’s Enterprise Performance Optimization Suite has strong collaborative planning and multidimensional modeling capabilities. For the latest fiscal year, Armstrong Laing reported revenue of $19 million. The official announcement can be viewed here.

Business Objects have been growing by acquisition, and this represents their entry into the budgeting and planning space, traditionally a stronghold of Hyperion. At the grand scale of things, this is not an acquisition that will dramatically change the BI space. At the same time, it is interesting to see how the finance niche in BI will play out with this acquisition.

Web Analytics

I was at SES San Jose, and one thing that was of particular interest to me was the state of web analytics. Having a data warehousing background myself, I was interested to find out what’s the latest and greatest on the analytics side for web traffic analysis.

The most popular web analytics vendors were all there. After all, all the attendees are interested in search engine strategies, so they must all have a web site, and hence need to analyze traffic on their site. I visited several booths, and found out that there really isn’t anything new and amazing in the market out there. I had mixed feelings about this: A little disapppointed that there is no real advancement (but then, I can say the same thing about the OLAP tool market for the last 3 years), while also a little giddy because I am not behind the tide.

I was inspired by what I saw to create a simple web analytics package on my own, something that would do the basics such as getting session information, do country lookup from IP address, landing page analysis, etc. Nothing fancy on the graphics side or SEM analysis. The basically framework is now ready, and I am already using this to analyze my own web sites. With some additional modification to make this more configurable, I could make this a free downloadable resource — now this would be a nice link baiting strategy. :)