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The big data trend has intersections with traditional data warehousing, analytics, and large file systems. While the definition of big data is still being debated, enterprise IT vendors are already jockeying (including plenty of M&A) for appliance and big data positioning.
- IBM has a strong background in analytics and data warehousing and has considerable assets that relate to this space including: Cognos, SPSS, DB2, scale out NAS (SONAS) and Netezza (through acquisition).
- HP is playing catch-up but is motivated with the acquisition of Vertica and other assets like IBRIX.
- Oracle is disrupting with Exadata/Exalogic and heavy vertical integration.
- EMC's acquisition of Greenplum and Isilon put it squarely in the big data space.
- Microsoft has a solid story (e.g. parallel DW and shared nothing) but doesn’t seem to have clout beyond SMB.
- Cisco is also one to watch with location-aware services, routing services, and cloud network infrastructure.
- Update 3/3/11 Teradata moves to acquire Aster Data (rumors had Dell paired with Aster Data, expect more activity here)
Generally, startups such as Cloudera, ClickFox, Membase, Karmashpere, DataStax, and Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Bit.ly are driving innovation.
Vendors must go beyond simply supplementing product lines with new offerings. Traditional enterprise software pricing models, which are based on compute and/or storage resource installed, are not appropriate for these new markets.
Similar to what is being done for cloud environments, enterprise vendors need to fine-tune solutions and balance traditional pricing models with the new data reality (elastic, on-demand, distributed) while competing with startups that have no legacy base to protect. Vendors need to look at open source stack models (e.g. Cloudera) to determine where/how they fit, should they compete or complement, and how can they monetize their IP. Open source or other methods that allow customers to try the secret sauce before buying is required in this space. Greenplum’s Community Edition is a good model to observe. The bottom line is traditional pricing and go-to-market models won’t work.
Action Item: Vendors need to differentiate solutions for the new data realities from traditional product offerings. Beware simplification of the trend (see cloud-washing); it’s about creating value from information and today most solutions are specific by industry and use-case. CIOs should look at success stories for guidance in this nascent space.