by Sarah Johnson

Company to Watch : GoldenGate – Always Up to Date

Mar 01, 20034 mins
Enterprise Applications

Mike Seashols admits he had never even heard of Sausalito, Calif.-based GoldenGate, which specializes in data synchronization, before he was called in for a job interview. Five months later, as the private company’s president and CEO, he’s spreading the word about the 7-year-old vendor that’s been hiding under the radar while acquiring well-known customers such as AOL Time Warner, Bank of America, Dell, Merrill Lynch and Visa.

For the first time, GoldenGate is marketing its Global Data Synchronization platform, which has been integrated for seven years with other vendors’ data management applications.

GoldenGate has begun the new evangelism by letting its existing customers?who may not even realize that GoldenGate software is part of their system?know how they can take further advantage of its product, which captures and quickly transfers data among various systems, data warehouses and applications.

If a Wall Street bank has computers damaged by fire, for example, GoldenGate’s software could have already synchronized the latest data, moving it from, say, systems in New York to another office?perhaps in the Midwest?for easy access with no disruption.

Beyond disaster recovery, the platform can also help companies keep systems running during upgrades?all with no downtime and no errors, GoldenGate says.

That claim led Bank of America to GoldenGate about four years ago when it needed to upgrade its ATM infrastructure. BofA’s 14,000 ATMs handle transactions for some three million customers?customers who don’t want to see “out of order” messages or errors. During the upgrade, GoldenGate’s Global Data Synchronization platform kept all parts of the system in sync, allowing the bank to keep things running even as the changes occurred. That’s important for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank because on peak days it handles as many as 300 transactions per second, according to GoldenGate. And errors could be costly, both in dollars and customer goodwill.

There are other products on the market that make claims similar to GoldenGate, but Bank of America was attracted to the product because of its capability to replicate data to heterogeneous systems as well as its support for disaster recovery. The GoldenGate implementation, including training and testing, took about 30 days, says Michele Schwappach, vice president and senior systems manager for the bank.

Despite happy customers, GoldenGate does face some challenges, according to analysts, such as getting the brand recognition it now craves as well as convincing potential customers that its software is more than just fast. Achieving those goals will take significant effort, as the company is competing both with the bigwigs and other small players. Fortunately for GoldenGate, most of the big vendors (such as Oracle) usually limit their data synchronization efforts to meshing with only their own products. Smaller companies, such as Informatica and Teradata, however, may offer more of a challenge. Of the smaller vendors, the first with a true data integration platform will probably be the winner, says Steve Hendrick, group vice president for application development and deployment at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (a sister company to CIO’s publisher). As yet, however, a leader hasn’t stepped forward, although analysts say Ascential Software with its Enterprise Integration Suite is getting close.

That doesn’t mean GoldenGate is stuck at the gate, however. It works on heterogeneous networks, says Laurie Orlov, research director at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. “Their ability to cross platform boundaries makes them very valuable,” she says.

And Seashols acknowledges that the company is not standing still, noting that GoldenGate is looking into expanding its services, including partnering with better-known vendors and marketing how its software can be used with other enterprise applications such as CRM and with tools for business analytics and business intelligence.

GoldenGate’s strategy has been smart so far. Last fall, it saw its 29th consecutive quarter of profitability, earning $10 million in sales. “It’s clear that in the replication and synchronization space they have a well-respected product,” IDC’s Hendrick notes, “because you can’t get the revenue figures they have without having a successful product.”