When Tandem developer Eric Fish was given a project that involved synchronising large volumes of data between the databases of various Tandem machines, he was more than a little daunted.
The Tandem database is optimised for the storage of data, rather than fast retrieval, and the machines could not be taken down overnight.
Fish’s solution was the Global Data Synchronisation platform, a tool that sits in front of the database, intercepts incoming data and replicates it so that it can be stored in
multiple databases – all without affecting performance or requiring any downtime.
That was in 1995. Today, the company’s software supports a wide range of databases – not just Oracle, but virtually everything from IMS to MySQL – and runs on some 12 platforms, including Linux.
The company has been profitable from day one, due to a lucrative early sale to ACI Worldwide, which supplies the software that runs cash machine networks in the US. However, that early success also engendered a degree of complacency.
It was only in 2000 that Fish approached venture capital firm Summit Partners, secured $23 million in funding and recruited a ‘professional’ management team, including industry veteran Mike Seashols as CEO.
At the same time, the software was polished into a more professional product, support for more databases was added and the management features improved so that users can set up data flows according to business processes using a graphical user interface.
Now, says senior vice president Larry Wilk, customers such as the Alliance and Leicester, Citicorp, Dell and the Link cash machine network in the UK are using it for a wide range of tasks.
These include disaster recovery and business continuity, data warehousing and even customer relationship management – any application that requires the same data to be used in two or more systems at once.