IBM has been on the acquisition trail again, and this time it was Netezza's
turn to take the call. In this month's column, we'll take a look at some of the
possible implications of the purchase, as well as rounding up a couple other
significant announcements around pureScale and DB2 for z/OS.
In a deal that broke cover on 20th September 2010 (the same week as the
Oracle World conference) IBM announced its
intention to pay a cool $1.7 billion for Netezza,
the warehousing appliance specialist.
On the face of it this is a strange move. After all, in recent years IBM has
poured significant resources into the development of its own warehousing
"appliance", in the shape of the Smart Analytics System (originally
known as the Balanced Configuration Unit or Dynamic Warehouse). This is a
highly integrated solution consisting of specific IBM hardware, the DB2
database engine and additional analytics and reporting tools to provide a
complete "warehouse in a box" environment. Netezza was a prime
competitor in this space, with Oracle, Teradata and Microsoft among the other
However this acquisition makes a lot of sense for both IBM and Netezza on a
number of levels. Firstly, Netezza already had a close strategic partnership
with IBM, basing some of its key products on IBM server hardware so IBM will be
able to immediately deploy those solutions with no underlying platform change.
Secondly, although there is some overlap the Netezza products could be made
to slot in quite neatly below the existing low-end Smart Analytics System
offerings, providing customers with a lower cost of entry and allowing IBM to
compete more directly with Oracle's Exadata on price. This will broaden the
overall appeal of the Smart Analytics System and make it possible for IBM to
offer a more natural upgrade path from a relatively basic but inexpensive high
performance appliance through to the more fully featured solutions that are
already within the Smart Analytics System portfolio. Finally, IBM has just
purchased a large chunk of market share, further strengthening its warehousing
credentials and opening up significant new upsell opportunities from existing
From Netezza's perspective, this is a great opportunity to leverage IBM's
considerable financial muscle and give their very successful product the sort
of long-term stability, R&D and marketing that would have been unthinkable
as a stand-alone organization. Although Netezza's products are rightly praised
for their straightforward setup and administration, this move will also bring
IBM's considerable services capability into play - something that Netezza had
to rely on third-party Systems Integrators for in the past.
IBM will no doubt make further announcements on exactly how the Netezza
products will be integrated if and when the deal closes in the 4th
quarter of 2010. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the other
vendors react to this development.
DB2 for LUW Packaging Announcements
IBM also made some interesting announcements On October 5th
regarding the packaging of DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows. I want to mention
two of particular interest:
- The pureScale
feature I have written about several times in recent months will now be
available to all DB2 Workgroup Edition users for no additional charge.
Previously, this feature (which provides a highly sophisticated clustering
capability to improve resilience and allow applications to scale more
easily with little or no code change) was only available as a chargeable
feature for DB2 Enterprise Edition. At the same time, IBM is easing the
restrictions on the supported hardware platforms for pureScale to include
all IBM x servers (previously this was limited to just three specific
higher-end models). These two changes dramatically increase the number of
users that will be able to benefit from this exciting new feature, and I'm
looking forward to working with customers on their first pureScale
implementation projects in the near future.
- A new package known as DB2 Advanced Enterprise Edition has
been created. This sits above DB2 Enterprise Edition, and bundles a large
number of features that are normally separately chargeable. These include
Optim Performance Manager, deep compression, label based access control,
query patroller and workload management. The best part of this is that the
list price for Advanced Enterprise Edition is just 10% more than plain old
Enterprise Edition - that's a lot of valuable new functionality for a relatively
small price increase. An "upgrade" part number is also
available, so if you're an existing Enterprise Edition user with any of
these optional features it's worth checking to see if you can save some
money at your next renewal.
A number of other interesting announcements were made at the same time (such
as increases to the limits for DB2 Workgroup Edition) so if you're on DB2 LUW
I'd encourage you to take a look at the full announcement using the link at the
end of this article.
DB2 10 for z/OS
Finally, a quick word on the new release of DB2 on the mainframe. DB2 10 for
z/OS has been in beta for some time, and IBM has just announced that product
would become generally available on Friday 22nd October 2010. I have
had the opportunity to talk to a large number of DB2 customers involved in the
beta program as part of a DB2 10 Business Value White Paper, and there have
been some very positive stories on the benefits of the new release. I'll come
back to this in a future column, but in the meantime I've included the links to
the full announcement and my white paper below.
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