Oracle announces Oracle Database 11g Release 2

Here is the product release site for 11g http://www.oracledatabase11g.com/ As per Oracle communication it continues to be the undisputed leader in big data batabase category.

Some other product features/ claims-

The Oracle Database Machine and Oracle Exadata Storage Server use intelligent storage software to process queries in the storage layer and get answers at least 10 times faster than before.

Oracle Database 11g Release 2 drives down hardware costs by enabling consolidation in a shared computing environment—and reaping the price and performance advantages of commodity hardware. The edition based redefinition feature lets you upgrade applications while users remain connected to their business applications.

oracle

And interestingly

It includes numerous automations and advisors that help double database administrators’ productivity over previous releases.

Claims of 10X, and 100% productivity always enhance the statistical thinking in my head. Did the new software really do so much improvement or was the earlier release just plain daffy. Good software can rarely go up 10X faster and 100% more productivity in a single release.

However, Oracle continues to be number 1 as of now-

Two analyst firms recently published their market share numbers for 2008, both finding Oracle continues to lead the industry, topping Gartner’s 2008 Worldwide RDBMS Market Share Report with 48.9 percent share, and leading IDC’s 2008 Worldwide Data Warehouse Platform Software 2008 Vendor Shares report with 40 percent share.

Interview Charlie Berger Oracle Data Mining

Here is an interview with Charlie Berger, Oracle Data Mining Product Management. Oracle is a company much respected for its ability to handle and manage data, and with it’s recent acquisition of Sun- has now considerable software and financial muscle to take the world of data mining to the next generation.

Ajay- Describe your career in data mining so far from college, jobs, assignments and projects. How would you convince high school students to take up science careers?

Charlie- In my family, we were all encouraged to pursue science and technical fields. My Dad was a Mechanical Engineer and all my siblings are in scientific and medical fields. Early on, I had narrowed my career choices to engineering or medicine; the question when I left for college was which kind. My Freshman Engineering exposed students to 6 weeks of the curriculum for each of the engineering disciplines. I found myself drawn to the field of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering. I liked the applied math and problem solving aspects. While not everyone has an aptitude or an interest in Math or the Sciences, if you do, it can be a fascinating field.

Ajay- Please tell us some technical stuff about Oracle Data Mining and Oracle Data Miner products. How do they compare with other products notably from SAS and SPSS? What is unique in Oracle’s suite of data mining products- and some market share numbers to back these please?

Charlie- Oracle doesn’t share product level revenue numbers. I can say that Oracle is changing the analytics industry. Ten years ago, when Oracle acquired the assets of Thinking Machines, we shared a vision that over time, as the volumes of data expand, at some point, you reach a point where you have to ask whether it makes more sense to “move the data to the algorithms” or to “move the algorithms to the data”. Obviously, you can see the direction that Oracle pursued. Now after 10 years of investing in in-database analytics, we have 50+ statistical techniques and 12 machine learning algorithms running natively inside the kernel of the Oracle Database. Essentially, we have transformed the database to become an analytical database. Today, you now see the traditional statistical software vendors announcing partnering initiatives for in-database processing or in the case of IBM, acquiring SPSS. Oracle pioneered the concept of using a relational database to not only store data, but to analyze it too. Moving forward, I think that we are close to the tipping point where in-database analytics are accepted as the winning IT architecture.

This trend towards moving the analytics to where the data are stored makes a lot of sense for many reasons. First, you don’t have to move the data. You don’t have to have copies of the data in external analytical sandboxes where it open to security risks and over time, becomes more aged and irrelevant.

I know of one major e-tailor who constantly experiments by randomly showing web visitors either offers “A” or a new experimental offer “B”. They would export massive amounts of data to SAS afterwards to perform simple statistical analyses. First, they would calculate the median purchase amounts for the duration of the experiment for customers who were shown both offers. Then, they would perform a t-test hypothesis test to determine whether a statistically valid monetary advantage could be gained. If offer “B” were outperforming offer “A”, the e-tailor would Continue reading “Interview Charlie Berger Oracle Data Mining”

Buying SAS Institute

At risk of annoying a lot of friendly people, I am going to ask an old question and try and answer it quantitatively.

Who can buy SAS institute?

Graph from-http://www.sas.com/news/preleases/2008Financials.html

SAS_revenue_lores

As you can see from the graph (note the post 2001-2004 period) – which is a nice smoothed curve, textbook normal distribution on the left side, SAS Institute grew during the tough economic year of 2008 to show slowed but firm revenue growth. However if you use the same price/revenue multiple as for the SPSS acquisition ( 1.2 billion/ 300 million (2008) revenues) – that would put a price of 9.2 USD billion on SAS Institute.

Who has that kind of money? Well it seems the usual suspects are-

1) HP- from http://h30261.www3.hp.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=71087&p=irol-IRHome

and

Click to access HewlettPackard_2008_AR.pdf

Cash and cash equivalents on 12.851 Billion USD as on April 30, 2009.

2) Oracle- Oracle would be hard pressed to integrate both Sun and SAS in the same year, but may have financial leverage to do both.

from http://www.oracle.com/corporate/investor_relations/earnings/4q09-pressrelease-june.pdf

Fiscal year 2009
GAAP revenues were up 4% to $23.3 billion, while annual GAAP net income was up 1% to $5.6
billion.  Total GAAP new software license revenues for the year were down 5% to $7.1 billion.
GAAP software license updates and product support revenues were up 14% to $11.8 billion.
GAAP operating income was up 6% to $8.3 billion, and GAAP operating margins were up 80
basis points to 36% in fiscal year 2009.

3) IBM -from ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/annualreport/2008/2008_ibm_financials.pdf

Cash on hand was 12.7 Billion USD as on 31 Dec 2008, and the company repurchased it’s own stock in 2008

In the current economic environment growth can come through acquisitions of newer clients ( not much) or new companies. IBM has capabilities to acquire BOTH SPSS and SAS Institute and merge the strong R and D facilities.

IBM 2008

4) SAP – from http://www.sap.com/germany/about/investor/reports/gb2008/en/our-results/finances.html

various sources of loan capital:

profit after income taxes for 2008 was slightly lower than for the previous year, we increased cash flows from operating activities 12% to € 2,158 million (2007: € 1,932 million) through efficient management of working capital.

  • To finance the acquisition of Business Objects, we entered into an agreement for a credit facility that was originally for € 5 billion and is repayable by December 31, 2009 (amount outstanding on December 31, 2008: € 2.3 billion). We did not draw the full € 5 billion available under the facility because we paid part of the purchase price from available cash.
  • To increase financial flexibility, in November 2004 we obtained a € 1 billion syndicated credit facility through an international group of banks. We already had other lines of credit in place; the new line was arranged to provide additional financial flexibility. As in the previous year, we did not draw on this facility during the year.
  • At the end of 2008, the other, bilateral lines of credit available to SAP AG totaled approximately € 597 million (2007: € 599 million). We did not draw on these facilities during 2008 or 2007. Several subsidiaries in the SAP Group had credit lines in their local currency. These totaled € 52 million (2007: € 44 million), for which SAP AG was guarantor. At the end of the year, the subsidiaries had drawn € 21 million under these facilities (2007: € 27 million).

Given these cash positions it seems that almost everyone can buy SAS Institute if and this is a big IF- someone sells it. Microsoft which some years allegedly tried and lost at acquiring Yahoo ( only to realize huge savings!) and SAS, would be also another suitor for SAS- and Google also has the financial and operating synergies with the best text mining capabilities could also act as a white knight in merging it’s Google Applications and Enterprise solutions ( especially the cloud based OS and cloud based productivity suite) with SAS Institute. I personally would favor a Google- SAS Institute joint venture on enterprise software solely based on the common history and shared values ( Note Google has dual ownership stock including class A and class B shares)

Who is John Galt ?

Another option could be using the Google Way and for SAS Institute to go for dual ownership IPO, with class A shares for the common public and class B shares for the founders and executives. A substantial endowment to colleges and universities can also be expected in the future, given the philanthropic tradition of SAS Institute owners and executives. Also could SAS try and buy SPSS- it would lead to synergies in both software ( with the SPSS GUI) as well as new clients. At the very minimum it would boost the valuation of other stock in this sector as well make SPSS more realistic valued.

So who will buy SAS Institute?

I don’ know 🙂 and I am just brushing off my half a decade old financial valuation skills here

What is the true value of SPSS

A brief study of the charts at http://tr.im/vDA4 ( CourtesyGoogle Finance) would suggest IBM is getting a bargain  for SPSS Inc.

And Oracle, Microsoft and other companies ( even the privately held SAS Institute) can do well to step in and take it away or at the very minimum make the valuation even more steep for IBM to hold on to.

SPSS reported in 2007 Total Revenue of $291million with a Net Income of $33.73million and in 2008 Total Revenue of $302.91million with a Net Income of $36.05million. Shares of SPSS Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:SPSS) increased from about $35 per share before the announcement to $49.50 per share after the announcement.

Citation-

http://shareholdersfoundation.com/caseinvestigation/spss-inc-takeover-subject-investor-investigations

SPSS.

Chart at http://tr.im/vDA4

Hive Tutorial: Cloud Computing

Here is a nice video from Cloudera on a HIVE tutorial. I wonder what would happen if they put a real analytical system and not just basic analytics and reporting … like R or SPSS or JMP or SAS on big database system like Hadoop (including some text mined data from legacy company documents)

Unlike Oracle or other data base systems, Hadoop is free now and in reasonable future  (like MySQL used to be before acquired by big fish Sun acquired by bigger Oracle).

Citation-

http://wiki.apache.org/hadoop/Hive

Hive is a data warehouse infrastructure built on top of Hadoop that provides tools to enable easy data summarization, adhoc querying and analysis of large datasets data stored in Hadoop files

Hive is based on Hadoop which is a batch processing system. Accordingly, this system does not and cannot promise low latencies on queries. The paradigm here is strictly of submitting jobs and being notified when the jobs are completed as opposed to real time queries. As a result it should not be compared with systems like Oracle where analysis is done on a significantly smaller amount of data but the analysis proceeds much more iteratively with the response times between iterations being less than a few minutes. For Hive queries response times for even the smallest jobs can be of the order of 5-10 minutes and for larger jobs this may even run into hours.

If your input data is small you can execute a query in a short time. For example, if a table has 100 rows you can ‘set mapred.reduce.tasks=1’ and ‘set mapred.map.tasks=1’ and the query time will be ~15 seconds.


iBi – Business Intelligence Applications on the iPhone

From the press release at QlikTech at http://www.qlikview.com/Contents.aspx?id=9836

They actually end up promoting Oracle’s mobile BI app even though they are trying to bash it up.

QlikTech, the worlds fastest-growing Business Intelligence (BI) company, today announced the immediate availability of QlikView for iPhone, the very first truly interactive mobile BI app built specifically for the iPhone. Unlike Oracles mobile BI offering that features a rigid interface and limited functionality, QlikView for iPhone fully leverages iPhones multitouch and GPS features to deliver QlikViews renowned, industry-defining interactive capabilities. The result is a groundbreaking app that puts the power of sophisticated, real-time business answers in the hands of mobile users worldwide. It can be downloaded for free from Apples Mobile App Store on iTunes.

Product Highlights:

  • Interactive click through line items on a list box or chart to get to answers, going deep into regional or product data.
  • Coverflow flip through relevant business analysis, make a new selection and those changes are instantly reflected throughout.
  • GPS-enabled automatically delivers local customer sales, service or inventory data as reps approach a customer or supplier facility.
  • Feature-rich use Search, Bookmark and Shake to Erase

Smarter, Faster, Real-Time Interactive Analysis
Mobile professionals need access to comprehensive, real-time information, not static reports that lack detail from offerings like Oracles mobile BI tool. With QlikView for iPhone, salespeople can drill deep into accounts and get granular, up-to-the minute answers and analysis that help them do their job better. From specific customer or product data, down to a single SKU or employee name, QlikView for iPhone gets users what they need, the moment they need it.

We comprehensively surveyed the BI mobile landscape and it was clear all previous attempts at addressing user needs failed miserably, said Anthony Deighton, SVP Product, QlikTech. Just posting a static report on a mobile screen, as Oracles solution does, may be marginally helpful, but creates a tremendously frustrating user experience, leaving no opportunity to interact with the data. With QlikView for iPhone, users get a mobile view of a relevant data subset, as well as access to the specific answers they seek. This interactive dynamic is the only way to truly fulfill the promise of mobile BI.

The Only Mobile BI Tool with Multitouch, Coverflow and GPS Integration
QlikView for iPhone takes full advantage of the iPhones native interface. The entire application is multitouch driven with complete implementation of the iPhone finger gestures users are accustomed to. Simple finger-swipes and finger-pinches enable users to select, interact and drill down into data. And to clear selections, all users have to do is shake the device. Apples popular 3-D Coverflow feature is also enabled, allowing users to flip through analyses in the same way they would through album covers and artists in iTunes. Real-time data changes are also instantly reflected in every Coverflow chart.

And here is the actual Oracle application

http://www.oracle.com/appserver/business-intelligence/business-indicators.html

Enhance Productivity for Mobile Business Users
Oracle Business Indicators is the first in a series of business applications for delivering Oracle business information to the Apple iPhone. The application provides mobile business users with real-time, secure access to business performance information on one of the industry’s most exciting and engaging mobile devices – Apple iPhone.

Oracle Business Indicators allows users to view and interact with Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications that include financial, human resources, supply chain, and customer relationship management analytics, as well as analytical alerts generated by Oracle Delivers, an integrated component of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Plus (OBIEE). Leveraging full advantage of the Apple iPhone mobile platform, Oracle Business Indicators is built as a native application to offer highly intuitive and flexible features including browse, search, and favorites for a superior overall end user experience.

BENEFITS
* Pre-defined business indicators-Pre-built metrics and reports include financial, human resources, supply chain, and customer relationship management analytics.
* Timely alerts on exception conditions-Enables the mobile user to review alerts generated by conditions pre-defined in Oracle Delivers. A user can select an alert entry and immediately review an associated analytic report.
* Superior user experience-Offers a highly intuitive user interface for browsing, searching, and locating business performance metrics.
* Robust security-Based on the same user security model as Oracle BI Applications. Also supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology.

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