“Big Data” announcements

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With the Strata conference taking place in San Jose next week this is the time of year when you get lots of announcements from vendors in the NoSQL and associated spaces. I’ve already been briefed by several companies that will be making major announcements next week. However, as always, there are suppliers that like to jump the gun and a couple of interesting announcements have already been made.

The first is that Pentaho is to be acquired by Hitachi Data Systems. This is being billed as “the largest private big data acquisition transaction to date“. Rumours suggest a figure between $500m and $600m. However it’s not the size of the venture that concerns me it’s the description of this as a “big data acquisition“. Pentaho is an open source business intelligence and data integration company. It’s absolutely a serious player in this space. It was founded in 2004 before anyone was talking about big data and I don’t want to demean its capabilities in the big data arena but it’s like describing Informatica as a big data company just because it happens to support some NoSQL environments. Bottom line: this is marketing bovine ordure.

Apart from the marketing, I reserve judgement. Hitachi has said that it wants to be a leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) space and that it has acquired Pentaho in order to bolster its offerings in this space. Fair enough. I am not sure that Hitachi is the first company I would think of in terms in IoT (actually, I am certain that it isn’t) so maybe this is potentially a good move. Moreover, the press release states that Pentaho will continue to operate with the same brand, with the same business model and with the same management as currently. If Hitachi does this, and continues to do this, then good. If it doesn’t, then bad. My general rule of thumb after an acquisition is to watch and wait for LinkedIn notifications that so and so has changed jobs: that’s usually a bad sign.

Also in the big data and analytics space is Datameer, a company I first mentioned here five years ago. Whereas it is debatable whether Pentaho is a big data vendor or just a BI company that supports big data, in the case of Datameer it is specifically both: the product was designed from the outset to provide BI through a very easy to use interface running on top of Hadoop. What the company is now bringing to the table with Datameer Professional is a purpose-built Hadoop as a service (HaaS) offering. This is being delivered through a partnership with BareStep’s Big Metal Cloud. This is interesting. I hear over and over again how setting up a Hadoop cluster, and managing it subsequently, is by no means the trivial task that some marketing folks might like you to believe. In fact the former is complex and the latter is time consuming, so I can see this partnership making headway.