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The Blue Screen

Maxwell Cooter

A plum buy for a data vision

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Here's one I didn't see coming, EMC has acquired privately-held data analysis vendor Greenplum. Unlike many such moves, there were no rumours flying around about this one but it's an acquisition that makes such perfect sense.

Greenplum handles the processing required to make sense of the terabytes, or even petabytes, of data held by data warehouses. As such, it competes with Oracle, of course, and the likes of Teradata and Netezza - but without the need to buy the expensive, proprietary appliances that these two produce. This is an increasingly important market:I wrote a couple of weeks ago of the various initiatives around big data warehousing infrastructures as companies fight to shave nano-seconds off processing.

And as more companies move into the petabyte space - all the indications from the likes of IDC and Gartner suggest that the amount of data held by companies is going to rise inexorably - there'll be a growing need for companies like Greenplum.

And that is why EMC has bought wisely. Not only is Greenplum an effective player in this space. It is also an open source player too - its data processing is built on Postgres rather than on a proprietary model - one of the reasons why it's been such a cost-effective alternative to the likes of Teradata and Netezza.

In his blog, Chuck Hollis, EMC's global marketing CTO, set out a vision for data computing pulling together the competing demands on compute power, memory and storage "These "big data" applications will likely want an environment that's build on dynamic and virtualized pools of compute, memory and storage.They also need tools that a create a self-service environment for power users. Simply put, data computing is a great use case for a private cloud."

There you have it: it's an acquistion that makes perfect sense for private cloud and as Hollis points out, will be a good fit for the likes of the VBlock, pre-virtualised architecture the company has developed with VMware and Cisco. In the long run, it will be interesting to see how the Greenplum acquisition fits in with  EMC's vision of federated data storage announced earlier this year.

EMC's plans for a Data Computing Division based on the Greenplum product makes perfect sense too. There's a perfect fit between Greenplum's architecture and EMC's with their reliance on standardised x86 products.

Many commentators will pick up on the effect that this will have on Oracle. Hollis tries to play this down, pointing out that "Greenplum is not a general purpose database like Oracle is - it's specifically optimised for large-scale data warehouse and business analytics using a legacy-free approach.

But at a time when many organisations are faced with the prospect of handling larger amounts of department that they could have ever envisaged, EMC has made a smart move in being best equipped to handle that move,. This is one acquisition that is well worth keeping an eye on.


Folllow Maxwell on Twitter


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