Oracle buys GoldenGate

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Oracle has today announced that it is to acquire GoldenGate Software. Somewhat surprisingly, many of the people that I have mentioned GoldenGate to in the past, both users and vendors, have never heard of them. I say that this is surprising and it is, because GoldenGate has, in my view, the best real-time data integration software available anywhere.

I should perhaps qualify this statement: GoldenGate provides two core technologies: heterogeneous, transaction-aware data replication and change data capture (CDC). It is in the former category that GoldenGate is a market leader though it is no mean competitor in the CDC space.

So, is Oracle buying GoldenGate because it is interested in replication? No. It is making this acquisition because of what GoldenGate’s replication enables and perhaps the most important capability (and there are several) that it enables is zero-downtime migration and upgrades. Migration is a hot issue: one consultancy I was talking to recently reported that its migration business was up 30%, and part of the reason for this is because of the safeguards that zero-downtime migration provides when compared to traditional approaches.

What zero-downtime migration means is that you can incrementally upgrade a Siebel implementation, for example, without ever having to take the system offline, which means no big bang Heathrow Terminal 5 catastrophes, for example. You can use the same approach with database migrations or upgrades, application consolidations and for the creation of MDM (master data management) hubs. Moreover, GoldenGate also offers failback capabilities to protect your application environment during the migration process: to be honest not many users actually require this but it is a nice security blanket to have.

In the course of time this should mean Oracle is able to offer this sort of migration capability for all of its major applications as well as its databases, so this looks like very good news for Oracle users.

Of course there’s a downside in that GoldenGate has a lot of partners, not all of which may want to license a competitor’s technology. For example, Teradata uses GoldenGate’s CDC technology and IBM Global Services has used the company’s migration technology for a number of engagements. In terms of migrations, the likely winner will be Celona, the only other provider of purpose-built zero-downtime migration.

Finally, there’s another point. Oracle describes itself as “the information company” and it has detailed ETL (extract, transform and load) capability thanks to its acquisition of Sunopsis a couple of years ago, it has extensive MDM capabilities and now it will have market leading real-time functionality, so the one thing it doesn’t actually own is leading data quality software: while it does have some capability of its own it resells software from Identity Systems (part of Informatica), Trillium and Silver Creek Software. What price the acquisition of one of these or one of their competitors?