Actian Corporation is wholly owned by Garnett & Helfrich Capital, which describes itself as a venture buyout firm. Previous companies in its portfolio have included Wyse and Blade, sold to Dell and IBM respectively.
Actian recently launched the Actian Analytics Platform, which includes IP from what was previously known as Ingres Corporation, Versant Corporation, ParAccel Inc. and Pervasive Software.
Actian was previously Ingres Corporation, which was spun-off from Computer Associates, in conjunction with Garnett & Helfrich Capital in 2005 (the latter acquired the remaining shares in 2010). Computer Associates, in turn, had acquired ASK Corporation in 1994, which had acquired the original Ingres Corporation in 1990. Originally, that company had been known as Relational Technology Inc. (RTI), which was founded (in 1980) by the developers of the original Ingres database technology starting in the early 1970s.
When the latest incarnation of Ingres Corporation was formed the company was focused on Ingres and associated products (notably OpenROAD, an integrated development environment for Ingres) and, in particular, it made Ingres open source. However, in 2010, the company introduced VectorWise (a spin-off from the MonetDB project at the Dutch National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) as an analytics platform. Subsequently, after re-branding itself as Actian Corporation, the company has acquired Versant Corporation, which provides object-oriented database technology, in 2012; and both Pervasive Software and ParAccel Inc. in 2013. ParAccel, like VectorWise, is/was an analytics platform but offers a massively parallel processing platform, whereas VectorWise offers a non-clustered solution (until June 2014 when VectorWise was extended to run natively in Hadoop on HDFS via YARN). Notably, ParAccel technology underpins Amazon RedShift.
The acquisition of Pervasive Software, on the other hand, was much closer to being a merger of equals. Pervasive Software itself has a history that is almost as complex as that of Actian, having been originally founded in 1982. Most recently it had merged with Data Junction Corporation (founded in 1983) in 2003. Pervasive has brought a number of product lines to the party, including the PSQL database (previously Btrieve), data integration and data quality products originally developed at Data Junction, and DataRush, which is a high speed parallel data flow engine.
The company, in effect, has two distinct sets of products and marketing strategies. In the first case there are long-lived operational database products (and associated tools) such as Versant, Ingres and PSQL, which are substantial cash cows for the corporation and which primarily focus on updates targeting the existing installed base. Secondly, there is big data and analytics. This is where the company is focused and it is heavily marketing the Actian Analytics Platform as the answer to “big data 2.0”.
Actian now offers two editions of their platform. The Extreme Performance Edition of the platform consists of Actian DataConnect (previously Data Integrator), Actian DataFlow (previously DataRush), Actian Vector (previously VectorWise), and Actian Matrix (previously ParAccel). The Hadoop SQL Edition of the platform consists of Actian DataConnect (limited to bringing data into Hadoop), Actian DataFlow for data preparation, enrichment, visual discovery analytics and data science natively in Hadoop, and Actian Vector in Hadoop (a release code-named “Vortex” which extends Vector to run natively on top of the Hadoop Data File System (HDFS) via YARN). Both of the Actian platform editions include hundreds of parallelised data processing and analytic functions to handle a full range of discovery and time-sensitive analytic processing. We should also highlight that DataConnect is also marketed in its own right as a SaaS application, especially as a means to provide cloud-based integrations.
According to Forbes.com the company had revenues of $138m in 2013. In addition to the United States, the company has offices in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, India, Australia and Brazil. It also has an extensive partner community, especially with respect to its historic database products.