A Data-Tinged Look Back at 2013

Every year around this time, DBA Corner looks back over the most significant data and database-related events of the previous year. So with that in mind, let’s dive into our annual review.

The Database-Related Acquisitions of 2013

As is common in the data and DBMS marketplace, the year saw its fair share of important data-related acquisitions. We’ll start our coverage with Oracle, perhaps the busiest of the data-related acquirers.

Oracle acquired Eloqua Inc. for approximately $871 million to further expand into the cloud computing market. Eloqua’s enable companies to tailor and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. In February Oracle agreed to acquire Acme Packet, a global provider of session border control technology for service providers and enterprises. In March 2013, Oracle announced it was acquitting Nimbula, a provider of private cloud infrastructure management software. Then, a few weeks later in March, Oracle announced that it would acquire Tekelec, a provider of network signaling, policy control, and subscriber data management solutions for communications networks. In October Oracle agreed to acquire BigMachines, a leading cloud-based Configure, Price & Quote solution provider.

IBM was not quiet in terms of acquisition in 2013, either. In February, IBM agreed to acquire the software portfolio of Star Analytics Inc., a privately held business analytics company. IBM also announced in February that it had completed the acquisition of StoredIQ, which was initiated by IBM in the fourth quarter of 2012. In late April, IBM announced the acquisition of UrbanCode which automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, cloud applications. Cloud computing was the theme of many acquisitions in 2013, as IBM agreed to acquire SoftLayer Technologies, a cloud computing company, in early June. Among its many cloud infrastructure services, SoftLayer allows clients to buy enterprise-class cloud services on dedicated or shared servers, offering clients a choice of where to deploy their applications. Then in early July IBM agreed to acquire CSL International, a provider of virtualization management technology for IBM’s zEnterprise system. And in mid-August, IBM acquired Trusteer, a provider of software that helps protect organizations against financial fraud and advanced security threats. Later in September, IBM acquired Daeja Image Systems Ltd., a provider of software that makes it easier for business and IT professionals to view large documents and images. In early October, IBM agreed to acquire The Now Factory, a provider of analytics software that helps communications service providers deliver better customer experiences and drive new revenue opportunities. And finally, in November, IBM announced that it would be acquiring Fiberlink Communications, a mobile management and security company.

Microsoft was not as busy as IBM or Oracle, but it made the biggest splash of the year. In early September, Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Nokia’s smartphone business for approximately $7.2 billion. While this acquisition is not necessarily notable for its impact on the database market, it is quite noteworthy in terms of its impact on Microsoft. With this acquisition, Microsoft becomes a full-fledged competitor in the hardware market for smartphones and tablets. The pairing of Microsoft and Nokia makes some sense. Nokia is the largest manufacturer of smartphones that use Microsoft’s Windows 8 phone operating system – and Nokia is the only smartphone manufacturer that used the Windows OS exclusively in its top-of-the-line devices. Even so, Microsoft has yet to gain a significant share of the smartphone market as the Apple iPhone and Android devices dominate.

Microsoft’s other acquisitions in 2013 include MetricsHub (a cloud monitoring service for automating cloud performance management), NetBreeze (a social analytics provider whose claim to fame is modern Natural Language Processing), and the InRelease business of InCycle Software (continuous release management and deployment software).

And finally, SAP made a couple of interesting acquisitions in 2013, too. In early March, SAP acquired Camilion, a provider of insurance product development, product life-cycle and underwriting solutions. Then in the second quarter of 2013, SAP acquired hybris, a provider of enterprise software and on-demand solutions for multi-channel commerce, master data management and order management. The final acquisition for SAP last year was KXEN, a provider of predictive analytics technology for line-of-business users and analysts.

The bottom line is that 2013 remained active in terms of acquisitions and consolidation in the database industry.

The Technology of 2013

Last year also saw the announcement and release of a lot of great new DBMS technology, too.

Early in the year, IBM announced enhancements to its PureSystems portfolio. IBM describes PureSystems as “expert integrated systems.” Basically, you can think of PureSystems as pre-configured hardware with pre-installed software – you buy it, plug it in, and it works. In the second quarter, IBM made the news with its BLU Acceleration announcement. BLU Acceleration brings more Big Data and efficiency capabilities to DB2 10.5 for LUW, including a column store, actionable compression, and data skipping technology.

In early February Oracle released the latest version of MySQL … MySQL 5.6. The highlight of this latest version of the open source DBMS is the incorporation of NoSQL functionality into the offering. And then in March, Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 that provides up to twice the performance and supports over four times the storage as compared to the original Oracle Database Appliance. And Oracle rolled out its in-memory database option at Oracle OpenWorld, touted by Larry Ellison as enabling Oracle databases to run “dramatically faster” without needing any application changes at all.

As for Microsoft, in at its annual TechEd conference in New Orleans, the company announced Microsoft SQL Server 2014, which should be available in early 2014. SQL Server 2014 features Hekaton in-memory OLTP.

Of course, this column covers just the highlights. There were many other interesting database stories in 2013, including financial ups and downs, lawsuits, and product announcements. Indeed, the database marketplace continues to be a busy and interesting place!