Actian Newsletter - March 2011
Actian Company Update
A Message from Steve Shine, Co-President of Actian Corporation, March 18, 2011
Dear Actian Customer,Welcome to the first of our 2011 quarterly newsletters designed to keep you up to date with what's happening at Actian. We hope you find them useful.
2010 was a very good year for Actian in which many good things happened, including the following notable achievements:
- Nearly 500 new Enterprise customers began using Ingres RDBMS, and 10% of these are also new OpenROAD users.
- We released Ingres 10, which is the most significant technology update in our history.
- We released Vectorwise, now the world's fastest, most affordable analytics database.
- We exceeded our financial goals and further strengthened our robust balance sheet position.
Right now, about 70% of our customers are using version 9.x of Ingres or intend to move to this version in 2011. We have a few early adopters of version 10, which delivers many long-awaited feature and enhancement requests from you, our customers.
Version 10 is a significant release that puts us well ahead of most of your requested needs for an OLTP database. However, we will continue to deliver innovation at a somewhat less frantic pace! (See the Product Updates section for product roadmap summaries.)
We still very much welcome additional features and enhancements you would like to see in future product releases. (See the Product Updates section for how we plan to gather your feature and enhancement requests.) We want to make Ingres the most cost effective, functionally capable, business critical OLTP DBMS, granting you choice of independence when you plan your IT investment strategies.
We already are seeing much activity around OpenROAD this year. We are working with many customers and partners who have a significant investment in OpenROAD running critical business applications.
OpenROAD 5.1, the XML release, is in QA's final stages and is expected to be available for Microsoft Windows at the end of this quarter.
OpenROAD 6 will provide transparent Unicode support. It is being tested by a number of partners who are expanding into Asia and should quickly follow the OpenROAD 5.1 release. For more information, see the Product Updates section.
In addition to the Gartner Magic Quadrant positioning, last month's TPC-H benchmark results make us confident that Vectorwise is now the world's fastest, most affordable analytics database. This is a huge innovation in the overall Ingres DBMS capability and proves that being smaller and more nimble enables us to out-innovate the industry behemoths! Notable industry analysts have already started to comment on what is being seen as a technology disruption.
We are announcing a Vectorwise promotion to thank existing Actian customers for their longstanding support of Actian.
Actian in the Cloud
On March 9, 2011, Actian announced SkySafe, our Cloud Service offering. SkySafe provides a scalable, secure, enterprise-grade platform for the development and delivery of data-centric applications in the cloud. Designed to extend cloud elasticity from the infrastructure to the platform, SkySafe is a managed service that can be dynamically scaled to meet the needs of the most demanding SAAS and enterprise applications. SkySafe can securely manage data for a variety of uses from SAAS and OLTP applications to historical data analysis.
Our first two service offerings on the SkySafe platform, SkyInsights for Analytics and SkyArchive for Archiving, will be available in April 2011.
2011 Actian Organization
The Ingres RDBMS and Vectorwise solutions have very different market dynamics. The OLTP market is a mature $26-billion market where product fit, quality of service and price competitiveness are the real value drivers. The high volume data analytics and Business Intelligence market in which Vectorwise plays is a much younger, faster growing market with many competing solutions. Ingres Vectorwise is hugely differentiated, and there is a great opportunity for us to win. Additionally, we are ensuring that funding is in place to drive further innovation across the Actian portfolio that we believe will help your businesses succeed. We hope to announce more of these innovations in the near future.
You may have heard that in January Actian reorganized itself internally right from R&D through to our field teams. Since Ingres OLTP and Ingres Vectorwise share much of the same code line, we still have key functions (Support, Services and certain areas of Development) that operate with tight integration. We reorganized to ensure we were properly focused on the two markets just described. These changes are now complete. We are a financially healthy, well focused business—and we are hiring!
We understand that when one of your key suppliers undergoes change, there are often many questions it raises for your business. The rest of this newsletter is focused on details about our product roadmaps, customer success stories, promotions and other activities, and we hope this information answers your questions. We would greatly appreciate if you would forward this newsletter to any colleagues who may not be on our mailing list. If you have specific questions, email info@Actian.com. We would be happy to reply to your questions or arrange a time to talk with you directly over the phone.
In the meanwhile, rest assured that your business systems—both today and in the future—are in safe hands. Thank you for your continuing support.
Co-President, Worldwide Field Operations
In the past 12 months Actian released significant enhancements across almost its entire portfolio of solutions. We continue to gather feature requests for these products, which are shaping our future release plans.
As you review these brief summaries for each product, you may find that your organization is not taking advantage of the latest capabilities. If you need help deciding if these new features could benefit you, our Services organization has specifically designed Health Check packs through which we can assess your current Actian technology usage and make proposals for enhanced management and performance as well as feature updates. For more information, see the section Services and Support Designed to Help You.
Ingres RDBMSIngres RDBMS Pricing Update
As of April 1, 2011, the Ingres RDBMS will be priced based on the number of cores rather than CPUs. This change aligns our pricing closer to the value delivered and responds to the general industry move toward core-based pricing.
Ingres RDBMS 9.2
So far, 2011 has been an exciting time for our VMS customers with the delivery of Ingres 9.2.3 for VMS Itanium, which includes cluster support. This release was delivered in close collaboration with some of our key VMS customers and of course Hewlett-Packard. Early indications are that the release is significantly faster than prior releases. We encourage those of you contemplating migrating to this release to work with us to take advantage of all of the benefits it provides.
Ingres RDBMS 10
Following the delivery of Ingres 10 for Linux, Solaris and Windows (32-bit) we've been focused on delivering a 64-bit Windows release of Ingres 10. Windows 64-bit users will soon be able to take advantage of the benefits of large memory and large disk support. Additional Ingres 10.0 ports are in progress with HP-UX and HP-UX Itanium already in QA.
Ingres RDBMS Futures (2011-2013)
We are currently running a program to gather future (2012+) features for the Ingres RDBMS. As part of this exercise, we will soon invite you to a "Requirements Survey" through which we can capture your requirements and consolidate them with hundreds of other Ingres users. This way we can make sure we build what you tell us you need—not want we think you need.
Preview of Upcoming Ingres Features and Capabilities
Previews of new features and capabilities to be incorporated in future Ingres releases are being made available through the Ingres Community Edition. Projects include, but are not limited to:
- Common Table Expressions: http://community.actian.com/wiki/Common_Table_Expressions
- DROP IF EXISTS Support: http://community.actian.com/wiki/DROP_IF_EXISTS_support
2011 is off to a busy start for the OpenROAD team as they strive to GA-release the latest version of OpenROAD, 5.1 for Windows, by the end of Q1. Remaining platforms will follow. The defining feature of this release is general-purpose system classes for XML support that allows creation and parsing of arbitrary XML documents without the need to create additional user classes or use external components (3GL procedures or external class libraries). The XML-based export file format is documented, is human readable, produces clean differences between different revisions of a file, allows changes to be merged, and enables OpenROAD source components to be managed by many different Software Configuration Management (SCM) systems.
OpenROAD 6 for Windows will quickly follow the OpenROAD 5.1 release. The defining feature of this release is Transparent Unicode support. This feature supports the Ingres NCHAR, NVARCHAR and LONG NVARCHAR data types and allows OpenROAD applications to access these new data types without needing to change the underlying OpenROAD program variables. Previous versions of OpenROAD supported only single-byte character sets. OpenROAD 6 extends this support to multi-byte and UTF-8 character sets. This means that there will be minimal changes to an existing OpenROAD application to support languages such as Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese character sets.
The XML functionality introduced in OpenROAD 5.1 is used by OpenROAD 6 to enable the transparent migration of existing OpenROAD applications to a UTF-8 environment. Transparent Unicode was implemented in a manner to reduce application migration costs by limiting the amount of application changes required. For example, a partner we worked closely with to implement the functionality was able to redeploy their 1.5-million-line application with fewer than 100 lines of code changes.
OpenROAD Futures (2011-2013)
Planning and early development are ongoing for the release targeted after OpenROAD 6. One of our large OpenROAD partners approached us with a requirement to enhance their application to meet stringent new corporate standards in a manner that was not possible with the current OpenROAD release. This has driven new functionality that will be available in a future release for all customers to take advantage of. The final release content is still under discussion, but you can follow our plans at http://community.actian.com/wiki/Ingres_Roadmap/OpenROAD_6.2.
Preview of Upcoming Features and Capabilities of OpenROAD
Previews of future OpenROAD new features and capabilities are available through Workbench Express, a version of OpenROAD and selected components. For more information about Workbench Express, see http://community.actian.com/wiki/WorkbenchExpress_Home.
Vectorwise 1.5 (March 31, 2011)
Vectorwise 1.5 is scheduled for release on March 31. This is the version we achieved the TPC-H results with, so we would love you to download and test for yourself just how outstanding the performance is. You can find the current product build and draft documentation at http://www.actian.com/downloads/vectorwise.
There are some features that may not make the March 31 timeline. We will deliver them as incremental builds over the following few months. These include integrated long column/table names, iivwfastload, vectorwise_row storage, support for 64-bit Windows port (estimated for June), and disk-spilling aggregates and hash joins.
Vectorwise 2.0 (Q3 2011)
We are currently gathering content for a 2.0 release, scheduled for late Q3 2011. Other candidates for focus in this release include enhancements in storage management (locations), data types (time zones, boolean), improved bulk data loading, and various SQL language enhancements as dictated by customer opportunities. If you have input on content for 2.0, contact Mark van de Wiel in Vectorwise Product Management at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vectorwise Futures (2012-2013)
The longer term product roadmap will mature the product with a new release about every nine months, with additional functionality, performance and robustness, and new innovations to widen its technology leadership as the world's fastest analytic database.
Areas we have discussed for incremental improvements include checkpoint granularity, administration and monitoring tools, analytic SQL, cube/rollup, extensible types and functions, stored procedures, partitioning, secondary indexes, and incremental backup. We would love to get your input on which of these would be most attractive to you. Contact Mark.email@example.com with your suggestions.
The research agenda for Vectorwise includes graduate student intern research projects about execution on compressed data, a JIT compiler, query result recycling, and cooperative scans. Academic research projects include XML query, multi-table data clustering, and MPP scaleout.
Services and Support Designed to Help YouHealth Check Service Saves the Day
Actian Services' rapid, low cost Health Check has already delivered real business benefits to longstanding Actian customers. This new service brings together many years of experience and best practice implementation into a rapid, detailed and highly automated assessment of common management, performance and stability issues as well as recommendations on how the latest releases of our portfolio could benefit your business.
Health Check can unearth hidden risks as well as address known and obvious problems, such as:
- At a large telecommunications company, Health Check unearthed a major problem with backups that meant database recovery was impossible.
- A supplier of managed services on Actian had ongoing performance and stability problems that were 100% remedied by Health Check recommendations, enabling them to continue expansion of their customer base.
To learn more about the Health Check and how it will benefit your business, see the Actian Support page.