| Craig S. Mullins
Database Performance Management
Two Interesting Acquisitions
Craig S. Mullins
I write this column in early December 1999, we witnessed a rare
occurrence in the software industry as two DBMS vendors made very wise
acquisition announcements. The acquisitions were not the rare
part—it was the fact that the acquisitions were wise that was
our industry, acquisitions happen every day and, at times, many of
them seem to make no sense at all.
two acquisitions were made by the second-tier leaders in the DBMS
market: Informix and Sybase. Informix agreed to acquire Ardent, one of
the leading data warehouse extraction, transformation, and loading
vendors; Sybase agreed to acquire the Home Financial Network, ), a
privately-held Internet financial services company. Both of these
acquisitions make a lot of sense and may help to buoy the sagging fate
of these struggling DBMS vendors..
Informix Buys Ardent
In recent years, Informix has fallen on hard times in the
DBMS market. At one point, two or three years ago, Informix was viewed
as a market and technology leader. But its vision was too far ahead of
the market (with object/relational technology and Data Blades) and it
encountered some financial hard times. The financial problems appear to be in
the past for Informix, but it has been surpassed as a DBMS leader by
the big three: Oracle, IBM with DB2, and Microsoft with SQL Server.
Understanding your situation is the first step to
improving your lot in life. Informix seems to understand their
situation and is branching out into complementary areas to bolster
their company. The acquisition of Ardent should do nothing but help
Informix. Ardent’s portfolio includes DataStage, which provides the
data integration infrastructure for information-intensive applications
including e-business, business intelligence, and enterprise portals.
Ardent also provides solutions for data quality assurance, metadata
management, and integrating ERP data into data warehouses.
coupled with Informix’s current data warehousing products, such as
Decision Frontier and Visionary, helps to makes Informix a data
warehousing powerhouse. Informix Decision Frontier is a
high-end solution for delivering customized data warehouses and data
marts from start to finish. It includes OLAP, management tools, and a
model-driven development environment for warehouse applications.
Informix Visionary is a graphical business intelligence solution for
performing trend and situation analysis without having to develop an
Additionally, Informix acquired Red Brick Systems in
December 1998. Informix Red
Brick Warehouse is a relational database engine designed specifically
to meet the specialized requirements of data mart applications.
has been making a financial comeback of sorts beating financial
analyst earning estimates in four of the last five quarters. If
Informix can continues to re-focus and shift its business away from
being “just a database vendor,” its long-term future looks better
than it has in a while.
this case, Informix plus Ardent equals a coherent strategy.
Sybase Buys Home Financial Network
On December 1, 1999 Sybase announced it will acquire Home Financial Network (HFN), a
privately-held Internet financial services company, and combine it
with its Financial Server business unit to create a new company. The
new company will be an independent subsidiary of Sybase.
core customers are in the financial sector, particularly on Wall
Street. The support of these customers has helped to keep Sybase
afloat. By creating a new subsidiary to focus exclusively on financial
services, Sybase is acknowledging their core strength and building on
top of it. The customer base of Sybase and HFN is impressive including
most of the world’s elite financial services organizations,
including Bank of America, ABN Amro, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, JP
Morgan, and Citibank, to name but a few.
acquisition of HFN by Sybase should help Sybase maintain its core
customers in the financial sector, and might help it to enter new
markets. Here is another case where Sybase plus HFN equals smart