December 14, 2011 – Birst Inc. has put together an in-memory database that puts the vendor’s agile business analytics focus at the forefront.

Eighteen months in the making, the Birst In-Memory Analytics Database is a standalone relational database offering that centers on ad hoc analysis of business data, rather than transactional information as in other in-memory releases. According to an announcement about the product, the database features a columnar structure setup and parallel processing, and functionality that builds on Birst’s data warehouse automation technology of integrating data sources into a multidimensional design. Data analysis is modified in real time and is based on a SQL interface and JAVA for enhanced compatibility with disparate applications and existing infrastructure.

Birst CEO Brad Peters says his team found no analytics-centric in-memory databases for mid-level enterprises that weren’t attached to larger offerings from vendors like SAP and Oracle, or based on advancing Microsoft Excel. Peters says the new Birst analytics database is meant for quick access to data sets by the end user, and not the “sexy” big data issues ramping up at larger enterprises and attracting much of the database space attention.

“Business users want to have access to a variety of questions very, very quickly,” Peters says. “What in-memory gets you is that you can get things set up more quickly, you don’t have to integrate multiple components, and then business users can ask ad hoc questions quickly without having to worry about going back to IT folks who set up the database to make sure things are running fast enough.”

Wayne Eckerson, founder and principal consultant at BI Leader Consulting, says the release opens up Birst’s possible customer base and, because of the SQL-based star schema design, should “appeal to veteran BI/DW professionals.”

“[The database] makes Birst a valid competitor to QlikTech and Tableau, who also have in-memory databases to deliver departmental BI solutions and are very hot properties in the BI industry right now,” Eckerson says. “This builds on [Birst’s] appliance announcement earlier in the year, which transformed them from a cloud-only vendor to an on-premises vendor with a cloud option.”

Single node implementations of the database will be included in Birst’s business analytics platform at no additional charge. The database will be generally available in January.

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