Thursday, May 21, 2009

Orinoco Pricing vs IBM System S ???

The New York Times had a nice article on IBM's System S. You know that it's been a good week for CEP when the Times starts covering it.

IBM has really been rolling out the PR machine on this one. They have been going around to the various investment banks and talking a bit about the pilot that they did with TD Securities, which looks very much like an options market making app.

Jerome wants to know what I think of IBM System S. I hope to have a future blog post devoted to System S and their SPADE language.

Another reader pointed to a quote at the end of the Times article, and wanted to know why I thought that Microsoft should be "giving out Orinoco for free". The quote from the Times article is:

"Buying such an advantage from I.B.M. has its price. The company will charge at least hundreds of thousands of dollars for the software, Mr. Mills said."

This should not be such a shocking quote. Most CEP vendors charge several hundred thousand dollars for their software. But, IBM has been using System S somewhat as a showcase for their Blue Gene supercomputer, and IBM has not made a secret of the fact that System S works great on the grid computing infrastructure offered by Blue Gene. And, if you want to marry System S with Blue Gene, you will find yourself few million dollars lighter in the wallet. But, then again, a trading firm can make that money up with one good day of trading.

I just cannot picture Microsoft moving into the same pricing model as IBM yet. Orinoco has just started to explore the area of HPC. Orinoco hopes to be able to "process 100,000 events per second" while IBM is claiming to process several million per second. (Of course, what do these people consider to be an event? And, what do they mean by "process an event"? Does this mean complex calculations, outer joins, or does it mean just putting an event into the memory space of the CEP engine? We need Stac!!!)

Orinoco can be best positioned as an add-on to SQL Server, something that Microsoft has to do in order to compete with the new CEP offerings by Sybase and Oracle. Microsoft should be capturing the mindset of every .NET developer, working its way into a company starting at the ground level and permeating the organization upwards.

I can imagine that IBM does not want System S to appeal to the everyday developer ... just to the ones that work for companies and government agencies that have multi-million dollar budgets for real-time analysis. IBM says "If you have to ask about the price, then System S is probably too expensive for you." The actual cost of System S will be a fraction of what it will cost to purchase and deploy the proper IBM hardware and hire the reams of IBM consultants to set everything up and customize System S.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

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