Toad Helping IT and Business Make Big, Medium and Little Data Analytics Stock
Recently, Quest Software (pending acquisition by Dell) announced general availability of its Toad BI Suite. To some of the BI/analytics and big data intelligentsia, Quest’s move into the big data bake-off may seem perplexing, yet another cook in the kitchen. To me, however, it entirely makes sense. Why? Let’s start by stepping close to who is hot in the big data kitchen, and then step back and sprinkle a little cold reality into the big data stewpot.
As one peruses big data vendors, it is easy to be drawn towards the big data chefs, like foodies to the Food Network stars, and indeed I am one of the chef-crossed guilty paying close attention to the big data stars, from Amazon to Alteryx, Cloudera to Cisco, Datameer to Dell, Google to Greenplum (EMC), Hortonworks to HP (Vertica), Informatica to Intel, MapR to Microsoft, NetApp to Netezza (IBM), Opera Solutions to Oracle, Pervasive to Pentaho, SAP to SAS and from Tableau to Teradata (Aster). I apologize to those big data marquee vendors I failed to mention. Big Data even has its own version of the Iron Chefs in the form of the data scientists, Ph.D. in hand, the rare info-geniuses shaping data into insight like Masaharu Marimoto shapes raw fish into scintillating sushi.
But not even close to every enterprise is prepared to cook or consume big data haute cuisine. First, a small minority of enterprises use Hadoop technologies; based on ESG research, let’s round it to 10%, and by “use” I mean touched in some fashion, certainly well under 10% of enterprises have production deployments based on Hadoop. Second, a much higher percentage of enterprises, the enterprises not yet possessing Hadoop-based big data chops, already cut BI/analytics in some fashion. Solutions range from sophisticated BI/analytics platforms complete with integration, warehouses, and statiscially significant visualization, to downloading stuff to Excel, and innumerous variations in-between. In this second group a minority have done “big data” projects or applications. Based again on ESG research, we expect one-third to one-half of enterprises to significantly upgrade their analytics platform(s) over the coming 12-18 months to make big data happen.
In short, we are still at an early stage of adoption for big data. To use classic crossing the chasm terminology, we most likely stand at the juncture between early adopters and early majority. In fact, there are a fair number of enterprises that have not significantly updated their BI/analytics platforms in quite awhile, big data or not.
Enter Quest Software’s Toad BI Suite. The overall Toad product line, with over 2 million licenses, is a power player in the DBA and developer community, and there are about 10,000 data analysts working in business units using Toad BI products already. While it is well known that DBAs are often key players in big data projects, it is perhaps less recognized that data analysts often live inside the DBA’s organization. Toad offers connectivity with a significant range of data sources, not only classic RDBMS, but also NoSQL/NewSQL options like MongoDB and most significantly Hadoop. And the Toad BI Suite is actually a true end-to-end BI/analytics offering, spanning ETL to visualization.
In that sense, therefore, we see Toad BI Suite potentially competing with the mainly end-to-end, light, fast but surprisngly complete analytics offerings, like Pentaho, Datameer or Metrics Insights on the high side, and perhaps Excel 2013 on the low side. Toad BI Suite’s positioning is to offer simple tools to deal with complex analytics problems (or opportunities). And Toad BI Suite can be used in piece parts too, fitting into heterogeneous big data architectures, which means in part or in whole, it might fit nicely into Dell’s Cloudera-partnered big data offerings post acquisition.
All that said, I believe Toad BI Suite must pay homage, as all big data chefs must pay, to the larger Hadoop and related community, and must look for a variety of partners in the big data space. To that end, Quest will again sponsor at Strata Conference + Hadoop World in NYC in October, arguably the best place to start. Just as big data must include DBAs and existing data analysts as key ingredients of the big data stew, similarly DBAs must recognize and participate with the new order in BI/analytics – spoon and fork.
The cold, gazpacho reality is that most enterprises are just at the beginning phases of what they hope will turn into their big data feast. Right now, most are designing big data menus and looking for qualified human beings to fill out the big data brigade du cuisine. In many cases they may look no further, or at least begin with, existing data analysts and the DBA organization. In those many cases they may find that Toad BI Suite offers an inexpensive, relatively easy cook book to produce both big data apps (that’s appetizers and applications), but even multi-course analytics meals.