Data management

From better databases to smarter search engines, 2005 was a good year for data management

In 2005, the big news in databases was the long-awaited launch of Microsoft SQL Server 2005, an extreme makeover that aims to meet the demands of even the largest mission-critical applications. The year also brought a significant upgrade and speed boost to Sybase ASE. We saw silky smooth document managers from Xerox and Xythos, while document-based collaboration also got a boost from software-as-a-service vendors such as ShareMethods. And nowhere was the action thicker than in enterprise search, where innovations ranged from content indexing (from vendors such Index Engines) to dynamic clustering of search results (from companies such as Vivísimo).

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ANALYTICS AND REPORTING

Coremetrics 2005

Coremetrics

Very Good, 8.3

Bottom Line: Offered in specific configurations for financial, retail, and travel services, Coremetrics 2005 is a fine analytics choice for e-businesses. SmartTags collect extensive customer profile data for cross-selling opportunities. Enterprise Data Bridge allows clients to integrate collected Web data with offline information.

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Crystal Reports XI

Business Objects

Preview

Bottom Line: Crystal Reports XI is a significant advancement in the Crystal reporting world. Crystal XI has several enhancements that make it not only easier to author, but also to manage and view reports. With features such as dynamic and cascading prompts, and new drag-and-drop charts that allow you to automatically create charts from report data, users will be very pleased to make this upgrade.

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Imceda Speed Coefficient 2.1

Imceda Software

Excellent, 8.7

Bottom Line: Coefficient offers a graphical way to view SQL Server database traces. Boasting exceptional reporting and analysis, the tool displays the intimate details of stored procedure performance that you would never get from Microsoft SQL Profiler. Coefficient will grow into a true enterprise baseline-analysis platform.

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NetIQ WebTrends 7.1 Enterprise Edition

NetIQ

Very Good, 8.3

Bottom Line: WebTrends is a very complete but relatively complex package. Reports track campaign performance, show audience segmentation, and allow managers to analyze commerce and navigation. It integrates well with Excel and was the only solution in our February roundup that can be hosted or installed in-house.

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Omniture SiteCatalyst 11

Omniture

Very Good, 8.4

Bottom Line: SiteCatalyst 11, an ASP reporting service, gives online marketing managers relevant reports about visitor activity and customer behavior. It shines in commerce metrics and fine-path analysis. Data warehousing allows users to roll commerce, path, traffic, and visitor segment information into one display.

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Omniture SiteCatalyst 12 and Discover

Omniture

Preview

Bottom Line: With preconfigured dashboards, improved appearances, and easier customization than its previous incarnation, SiteCatalyst 12 promises to cut the amount of time that analysts spend working with data. New report views allow you to superimpose performance targets (such as revenue generated each day) over actuals, helping marketers zero in on underperforming pages. The separate Omniture Discover, a new real-time exploration engine, offers more flexible, on-the-fly analytics capabilities.

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OutlookSoft Everest 4.2

OutlookSoft

Good, 7.8

Bottom Line: Everest 4.2’s financial-planning-focused BPM application set rests on a unified model that uses its Microsoft foundation to good effect. With a very usable client and good admin, Everest has the potential to be a rapidly deployed product that (after initial training) should be easy to maintain and extend.

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Tableau Standard Edition 1.0

Tableau Software

Very Good, 8.3

Bottom Line: There’s a lot of room to expand end-user deployment of BI and other analysis software, and Tableau’s new offerings strip away some key barriers to that goal. Very easy to deploy and relatively smooth to use, this model is like no other BI product, and it will make many shops rethink the way they roll out BI.

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WebSideStory HBX OnDemand Web Analytics 2.5

WebSideStory

Excellent, 8.7

Bottom Line: WebSideStory’s latest version reaches parity with other products in both reporting options and many e-commerce functions. You get an excellent blend of easy setup, usable interfaces, and detailed content and marketing analysis. Cross-channel integration with CRM tools is an added benefit.

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CONTENT MANAGEMENT

Accumo Classifier 1.12

Accumo

Preview

Bottom Line: This Java-based classification engine with a simple-to-use API automatically organizes text information into intuitive clusters. Classifier’s combination of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and statistical analysis clusters results into neatly presented topics as expected, but it shows signs of an early release. Still, developers will find this version a good tool for enhancing intranet search or categorizing documents.

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Daisy 1.3

Outerthought

Very Good, 8.3

Bottom Line: This Java-based classification engine with a simple-to-use API automatically organizes text information into intuitive clusters. Classifier’s combination of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and statistical analysis clusters results into neatly presented topics as expected, but it shows signs of an early release. Still, developers will find this version a good tool for enhancing intranet search or categorizing documents.

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dtSearch 7.01

dtSearch

Very Good, 8.5

Bottom Line: dtSearch manages a terabyte of text in a single index and returns results in less than a second. It indexes common desktop, network, and Web files, depending on version used. Corporate features include multiple language support, index sharing, and customization, plus extensive third-party support.

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exalead one:Desktop Professional Edition 4.0

exalead

Preview
Bottom Line:
The exalead package is fundamentally different from other search offerings. Navigation and results spontaneously regenerate as you refine your search. As with a spreadsheet pivot table, you can truly dig deeper — or refocus what you’re looking for — with ease as well as speed. If the company properly executes the forthcoming editions for workgroups and enterprise systems, it will be a strong contender in enterprise search.

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Google Desktop Search for Enterprise
Google
Very Good, 8.6
Bottom Line: Google’s desktop search helps employees find what they need — including Outlook, Notes, and Netscape mail — as they would on Google.com. Enterprise features enhance security, centralize configuration, and ease installation. “Free” may be a misnomer, given the need for a Google appliance to get best results.

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IBM WebSphere Information Integrator, OmniFind Edition, v. 8.2.1
IBM
Good, 7.8
Bottom Line: WebSphere Information Integrator, OmniFind Edition, v. 8.2.1 is a true enterprise search engine that federates data from intranets, e-mail repositories, and databases. Scalability and configurability are impressive, but certain common file types are not supported, and security features are incomplete.

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Index Engines Appliance 1.0
Index Engines
Very Good, 8.6
Bottom Line: Index Engines’ Appliance 1.0 has a novel solution to enterprise search. Instead of relying on agents to crawl LANs, this system sits unobtrusively on a SAN in front of a tape archive unit and catalogs documents as they’re backed up. It works out of the box, requiring no changes to current backup processes.

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Interwoven Content Provisioning Solution 2.02
Interwoven
Very Good, 8.5
Bottom Line: Interwoven CPS’s ControlHub and OpenDeploy servers help effectively manage content and code changes to complex Web apps. After approval, updates are deployed to designated test, staging, and production points. Auditable, historical records of all app changes meet key compliance requirements.

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ISYS:desktop 7
ISYS Search Software
Very Good, 8.4
Bottom Line: This is a powerful yet easily implemented solution for locating information across networks and desktops. It supports more than 30 languages and 140 file formats. Users can select a variety of search methods. Information is displayed with configurable highlighting and links between hits.

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Ixiasoft TeXtML Server
Ixiasoft
Very Good, 8.1
Bottom Line: TeXtML provides a wide array of APIs. Setup is easy, and it supports fault tolerance with optional multiserver fail-over repositories. TeXtML strikes the right balance between turning everything into XML or using XML to enable powerful queries. It excels at text searching, but has a somewhat steep price.

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RedDot CMS 6.1
RedDot Software
Preview
Bottom Line: CMS 6.1 gives administrators even more control of a site’s appearance by permitting multiple versions of templates, so changing the look and feel of sections is a simple publish-time selection. When tested, this Microsoft-centric product didn’t work with Mozilla Firefox. Still, Version 6.1’s new functions, plus major changes in CMS 6.0 for managing assets and workflow, make this content manager a worthy solution for public sites, intranets, and extranets.

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ShareMethods 3.0
ShareMethods
Very Good, 8.2
Bottom Line: This on-demand service enables sales and marketing teams to share documents and distribute material to channel partners. ShareMethods’ work process speeds approvals and provides compliance auditing. It integrates with Salesforce.com’s sforce via SSO, as well as with other CRM services.

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Verity Ultraseek 5.3.1
Verity
Very Good, 8.6
Bottom Line: Ultraseek requires little administration and delivers excellent results. A simple browser-based GUI helps IT staff manage crawls and remote-search servers. The system is very scalable, integrates well with other Verity applications, and combines searches from back-end enterprise systems.

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Vivísimo Velocity 4.2
Vivísimo
Excellent, 8.7
Bottom Line: Combining dynamic clustering, search, and metasearch, Velocity can be deployed faster and less expensively than other search solutions. Velocity simultaneously searches multiple information sources and presents the results in organized folders from a single, consistent interface.

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X1 Enterprise Edition
X1 Technologies
Very Good, 8.5
Bottom Line: X1 Enterprise Edition’s client app indexes local e-mail and fields. The clear UI expedites simple searches and previews documents, while power users can construct advanced queries. X1 Enterprise Server scans remote file and e-mail servers; users link to these searches from the desktop.

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Xerox DocuShare 4.0.1
Excellent, 8.8
Xerox
Bottom Line: DocuShare — a secure, Web-based ECM suite — provides document management, collaboration, project management, and electronic content distribution. It’s simple to configure, use, and administer, needing no client or browser plug-ins. It includes a Verity K2D search engine and Liquid BPM workflow engine.

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Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0
Xythos Software
Very Good, 8.5
Bottom Line: This open-standards, Web-based suite provides file and document management, including version control, workflow, and document retention and classification; document scanning is optional. A lightweight, intuitive client requires nominal training and minimal change to existing processes, resulting in fast deployment.

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DATABASES

Apache Xindice 1.0
Apache Software Foundation
Very Good, 8.6
Bottom Line: Another fine product from Apache, Xindice is most easily approached by Java programmers, although other languages can be used with some work. It’s not as versatile as Berkeley DB XML (as it doesn’t yet support XQuery), and the documentation needs work — but Xindice should improve with time.

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eXist 1.0
eXist Project
Excellent, 8.9
Bottom Line: Getting to know eXist is pure pleasure. If you want a smooth introduction to the power of XQuery and XML content management, this is the XML database for you.

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Microsoft SQL Server 2005
Microsoft
Preview
Bottom Line: The sweeping improvements in SQL Server 2005 range from easier management, monitoring, and troubleshooting to powerful new development and integration possibilities. There’s something here for every SQL Server shop, especially those seeking better performance, availability, and support for larger data sets.

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Sybase ASE 15 Enterprise Edition
Sybase
Very Good, 8.4
Bottom Line: Sybase ASE 15 offers significant performance improvements over earlier versions. With partitioning, materialized computer columns, and function-based indexes, ASE shops will definitely notice the difference in speed. Advances made to the data engine improve ASE’s support, but the much-touted native encryption hasn’t actually been implemented in this release, so users will have to wait for that feature.

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Sleepycat Berkeley DB XML 2.0
Sleepycat Software
Excellent, 9.3
Bottom Line: Berkeley DB XML is a killer XML database library running a layer above the bulletproof Berkeley DB. Sleepycat has improved this latest version greatly, adding XQuery support, the ability to manage large files with per-node storage, and new documentation to flatten the learning curve.

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