Jul 24, 2008 (01:07 PM EDT)
DATAllegro? Is Microsoft Buying the Wrong Company?

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

My first thought on learning of Microsoft's plan to acquire DW appliance vendor DATAllegro is that MS is buying the wrong company. Yes, DATAllegro's parallelized database technology will fill a big gap in Microsoft's DW product line, namely that SQL Server doesn't scale to the top end, but the technology isn't compatible and will take years to build into SQL Server. I'd think it's Dataupia that would, without disruption, close the gap. No, this deal is about gutting the DATAllegro appliance. Look at the details —Drawing from DATAllegro's FAQ on the deal:
After the acquisition closes, DATAllegro will continue to develop their technology, which will be incorporated into SQL Server in future releases. In addition, DATAllegro's products will not be sold to new customers until they are fully integrated with SQL Server.
Full integration will take years. Further, DATAllegro's appliance runs Linux. SQL Server doesn't run on Linux and probably never will. Existing customers who want to "upgrade" will be dealing with a new operating system, a new DBMS, and a new vendor. And they won't benefit from "the flexibility and scalability that only an open platform can offer" (DATAllegro, April 2008).

What of the replacement of the open-source Ingres DBMS by a future version of Microsoft SQL Server, one that will be enhanced with parallelization technology based on a shared-nothing architecture where each node of a cluster runs an independent DBMS image? That's a tall enhancement order. It has taken Microsoft many years to bring Windows HPC (High Performance Computing) to a point where it can begin to compete with Linux and Unix supercomputing clusters. Realistically, how long will it take to deliver a reliable, robust, parallelized, appliance-packaged SQL Server?

Current DATAllegro shops should be very concerned. They face huge uncertainty about the future prospects for their investment. DATAllegro's current product line is marked for death, there will not be updates, and it will likely be years before Microsoft can deliver an upgrade path.

Expect Netezza, Teradata, Greenplum, and other DATAllegro rivals to announce migration packages within days.

And what of Dataupia? The company's Satori database-accelerator appliance already, today, works to scale SQL Server and DB2 and Oracle mixed-workload performance against large data warehouses. Microsoft could have chosen to make Dataupia CEO Foster Hinshaw an offer too good to refuse, immediately gaining SQL Server enhancement technology and simultaneously eliminating a DW scalability path for arch-rivals IBM and Oracle. Microsoft instead made a choice that will take years to realize, and I suppose MS can count on Dataupia to continue to provide SQL Server scalability until an enhanced version is ready in, I'd estimate, 2-3 years.

The planned DATAllegro acquisition is good for Microsoft and it creates near-term opportunity for DATAllegro's competitors. A variety of appliance and MPP (and appliance-MPP) options are on the market for organizations that are looking. It's current DATAllegro customers who face perhaps unacceptable risk and uncertainty.My first thought on learning of Microsoft's plan to acquire DW appliance vendor DATAllegro is that MS is buying the wrong company. Yes, DATAllegro's parallelized database technology will fill a big gap in Microsoft's DW product line, namely that SQL Server doesn't scale to the top end, but the technology isn't compatible. It's Dataupia that would, without disruption, close the gap. No, this deal is about gutting DATAllegro. Look at the details —