Actian Newsletter - Q1 2012
Dear Actian Customers and Partners,
For those of you who have been customers with us for some time, I want to thank you for your continued support. For those of you who are new customers to Actian’s offerings, I extend to you a warm welcome! All of you have helped us achieve a successful and momentous 2011.
In 2011 Ingres became Actian. As I communicated at the time, this was much more than a name change. Actian has built upon Ingres’s pedigree and expertise in data management to include Vectorwise, the world’s fastest big data analytics database as well as our introduction of Action Apps, which provide real time BI capabilities enabling you to monitor and take action on data events that your business users define as important.
The core theme in all these activities is to provide you with technologies and services to turn data into real business value, be it the resilience and stability of the Ingres technologies, the ultra high performance of Vectorwise, or the powerful business user tools of Action Apps. There is a lot of hype in the technology industry around Big Data. My personal opinion is that Big Data only means more cost and more complexity if you don’t develop a clear strategy and core competence around managing and extracting real business value from it. Our mission is to provide you with the tools and services to develop that competence and turn Big Data hype into real business success.
The Actian launch has been a huge success. Thank you for helping us make this transition.
2012 looks to be very promising for Actian and we hope that you will be able to take advantage of the great improvements and progress we are making across all our solution areas.
CEO & President
Action Apps automate business actions triggered by real-time changes in underlying data—for example, notifying a Sales Manager when a key deal slips in your CRM system. Work on Action Apps is proceeding apace, and we are now seeking early adopters for our first example of a vertical application built on the platform, which will be Action Apps for SalesForce.com.
We will be sending out a separate mailer shortly providing more details of the program including a demo video. In the meantime, please contact email@example.com if you are a SalesForce.com user and would like to find out more about joining the early adopter program.
This past quarter saw a large up-take of Vectorwise, with Actian announcing multiple customer and partner wins. Customers, partners and industry leaders recognize our Vectorwise product as a solution for big data, without the need for a big budget.
Just this past week we announced with Cisco their top TPC-H benchmark results. Visit the TPC website for the latest results.
Vectorwise 2.5, to be released in Q2, promises yet faster performance to tackle Big Data problems. Among multiple other new features this version will introduce major improvements in storage management. Let us know if you would like to test-drive an early version of this upcoming release.
At the Gartner BI Summit we announced very exciting partnerships with Lenovo and Rackspace to enable customers to achieve business value from their big data with Actian and Vectorwise. Lenovo will introduce an appliance with Vectorwise in Q2 that enables customers to deploy a big data solution quickly and affordably. Rackspace will enable quick project deployments for customers on a global scale. Look for more stories in the coming quarter from our customers and partners on how Actian and Vectorwise provide action and business value from data.
Actian Director is a modern style database management graphical user interface that runs on Windows and Linux desktops. Director enables users to easily manage their local or remote Ingres and Vectorwise installations and perform routine administration functions. The tool has improved workflows and security, and includes such features as starting and stopping an instance, database administration, user management, connection management, and a built-in query tool. The beta version can be downloaded at http://esd.actian.com.
Ingres 10.0.1 is a Service Pack for Ingres 10 that adds new operating system support for Linux and AIX. Ingres 10.0.1 is certified for use with RHEL 6 and AIX 7.1. All other platforms will be brought to the same maintenance level with the Ingres 10.1 release.
Following hot on the heels of the Ingres 10.0.1 release, the engineering team is putting the finishing touches on Ingres 10.1, which will be available for Linux at the end of April. This release includes a number of new features, the most significant of which is the new geospatial data types and functions, which allow geospatial/geographic data to be managed natively by Ingres. More details about these exciting capabilities are described in Geospatial.
The following list highlights the most significant new features included in Ingres 10.1.
- Common table expressions
- Multi-row INSERT
- New location for log files on Windows
- Inclusion of process ID and date in log file names
- II_DATE_FORMAT settings ISO4T and ISO4TC
- UCS_BASIC collation for columns
- Session-level COLLATION
- ODBC driver batch execution
- JDBC getGeneratedKeys enhancement
- Ingres .NET Data Provider enhancements
- .NET Data Provider support for connection string
- .NET Data Provider support for batch
- Unicode-enabled database by default
- Portable UTF-8-encoded COPYDB and UNLOADDB
- Date format with space delimiter
- Support for DROP TABLE IF EXISTS
- Identification of long running queries
A number of the Ingres 10.1 features listed above were contributed, in whole or in part, by Ingres Community Members at last year’s UK Code Sprint. If you are interested in participating in this year’s Code Sprint, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
What do building footprints, train tracks and airplanes have in common? All have valuable information as part of their geospatial location. The upcoming release of Ingres 10.1 will provide the ability to store, manage and analyze geospatial data assets. This release brings the ability to report on locations, calculate distances and lengths as well as computing areas—all as a core part of the Ingres database. Geospatial data is pervasive and much of the information stored in databases today has some sort of spatial component—postal addresses, x/y coordinates, office numbers or locations. Our focus has been on removing barriers to managing this type of data, making Ingres even more capable for development and deployment of modern applications. Location-aware mobile applications, logistics systems, and more will benefit from these features.
Behind the scenes, two very powerful, industry standard, open source geospatial libraries are used:
- GEOS is a geometry processing engine that enables all sorts of geometric functions, such as creating buffers, calculating overlapping areas and merging features together.
- PROJ is a cartographic projections library allowing data to be transformed between dozens of geographic and planar coordinate systems.
Together with the significant development we've made internally to Ingres geospatial, we are able to meet the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specification for Simple Features for SQL. This SF-SQL standard that we built against gives the confidence that the work and effort you build into your application development in the database can be easily ported to other systems—functions and interfaces remain the same.
With the standards-conforming functions provided in the Ingres RDBMS you can store, convert, and access geospatial data without needing to understand how the underlying technology works. We have also been working on providing third party application support to assist in easy loading, programmatic access, and visualization. GDAL/OGR and GeoTools are two open source data access libraries used by countless proprietary and open source products. With the Ingres support that has been built into them, they provide abstracted interfaces to access Ingres geospatial data.
For many working the Geographic Information System (GIS) industry, access through desktop mapping applications is critical, so we have been working on a couple options for that as well. The most significant effort is our development of an extension for esri® ArcGIS for Desktop product. With our extension you can easily connect to Ingres and visualize the geospatial contents of the database. Other desktop GIS software that supports GDAL/OGR and GeoTools can apply the Ingres driver plug-in to their favorite application and be using Ingres quickly. We are committed to supporting the GIS industry, and the list of third party products supported by Ingres will continue to grow.
Finally, the powerhouse of geospatial data conversion applications is Safe Software's Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) and ETL toolkit for converting between hundreds of data formats—spatial and much more. Support for Ingres in FME will be announced soon, and we hope to have native Ingres support included as a standard part of the FME distribution.
An OpenROAD 5.1 Service Pack (5.1.1) is in the works that includes bug fixes and new operating system support for some of the UNIX platforms. The Service Pack will be available for Microsoft Windows in Q2; it will be available for other platforms later.
OpenROAD 6.0, targeted for Windows, is now GA. OpenROAD 6.0 provides transparent Unicode support, enabling applications to handle single-byte, multi-byte, and UTF-8 data with little or no changes to existing code.
This release came together from a partnership of the OpenROAD engineering team and a large OpenROAD/Enterprise Access customer and another OpenROAD/Ingres customer. The OpenROAD/Enterprise Access customer helped to drive the initial transparent Unicode functionality and worked very closely with us to implement and deploy the multi-byte aspect in production to several end customers. This partner was able to redeploy their 1.5 million-line application with fewer than 100 lines of code changes. The other customer built on this support and helped to flesh out the UTF8 implementation successfully, deploying the release into production.
More information regarding OpenROAD 6.0 is available in the datasheet. OpenROAD 6.0 can be downloaded from http://esd.actian.com/product/OpenROAD/6.0 and the documentation is available at http://docs.actian.com/openroad/6.0. Future plans for OpenROAD can be found at OpenROAD 6.2 Roadmap.
If you, like a number of other Actian customers, are suffering technical resourcing issues, then use our expertise to reduce your risk and resolve resourcing problems. Actian’s Enterprise Management Service (EMS) provides 24 x 7 x 365 proactive monitoring and event management of your mission critical Ingres and Vectorwise data services, including hardware and applications. This is a “reduced risk,” low cost, easily implemented solution that can automatically notify Actian (and your own support organisation) of any failures or potential service issues thereby enabling Actian (or you) to resolve them before there is any serious impact on your business.
Actian can further reduce your risk by engaging with you to fully manage these important IT services, either on their existing hardware platforms or as a fully hosted solution. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to discuss the different solutions that Actian can provide to help your organisation reduce risk.
Actian’s core business is based on subscription services. We recognize that our customers have a choice: if our products do not perform as expected, or if we deliver poor support services around our technology, you may go elsewhere. A key measure of a support and service organization’s performance is customer satisfaction, which we measure based on responses received from the returned surveys sent after closed Actian Service Desk issues. We continue to monitor our progress month-over-month and take pride in reporting that our customer satisfaction rating for year-ending 2011 was Q1 is now 4.74 (out of 5.0) — well above industry averages. Many thanks to all our customers for your ongoing support and feedback!
We have had a lot going on with new customers and partners. Read all about it:
Actian Corporation is continually working to provide quality software and services to best meet the needs of our customers. In order to provide best-in-class software solutions, Actian has defined a predictable Support Lifecycle Policy to give you plenty of lead time to plan and manage your upgrade and release processes. In accordance with this policy we are formally announcing the end of Actian Enterprise Support Services for the Ingres Database 9.3 product release for all platforms as of December 31, 2012.
This release was an interim release to address specific partner functionality until the functionality was made available in the next key GA release. As a result it had a limited lifecycle originally intended to end in conjunction with the Ingres 10 release. Due to uptake we continued ongoing Enterprise Support Services but are now ending those services. Ingres 9.3 will join previous versions of Actian releases as functionally stabilized with no further Enterprise Support Services.
If you have not already started to migrate to a newer release of the Ingres Database, please review the information and features for the10.0 release.
Currently we are actively seeking talent for various roles in our engineering, support, sales, and marketing departments. We regularly advertise our open roles on our career page and through other social media channels and outside sources. If you are interested in a role or want to know more about, feel free to reach out to your contacts at Actian or our Human Resources department, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UK Actian Users Association (formerly the UK Ingres Users Association) is an entirely independent, self-funded organization run by and for its members.
The Association has run successful and well-attended user-focused events for over 20 years now, giving users of OpenROAD, ABF, Ingres, and Vectorwise a chance to share experiences and war stories, and to collectively influence product directions.
The events include a mix of case studies from users, Actian strategy update sessions, product roadmap and direction updates from senior figures in Actian, as well as sessions from Actian partners and industry leaders, and a partner exhibition area. The afternoon ends with the popular Executive Q&A where the floor is opened to all delegates to ask questions directly of Actian managers and executives.
A UK Actian Users Association event is a great chance to meet peers who are facing similar technical or business challenges, and to learn from others who have gone ahead of you, saving time, money and risk for your organization.
In the last few years we have coordinated with Actian to run "Development Code Sprints" just before our main conference, letting people get hands-on with the product source code, while supported by the core developers, to develop new features or changing existing ones that are driven directly by personal experience.
So whether you're interested in the business strategy and roadmap, sharing your views with key Actian decision-makers, attending hard-core technical briefings, or delving into the code, there is something for you at a conference!
Registration for the June 2012 event in London is already open at https://www.regonline.co.uk/ukiua2012. Last-minute details are still being decided so check www.uk-iua.org.uk regularly for more information.
Proposals for customer presentations are still being accepted at email@example.com.
We'd also love to hear from you if you'd like to help out in shaping and organising the events - drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about this newsletter, or items that you would like to see covered in a future edition, we encourage you to contact us at email@example.com.