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Two Firms Mastering 'Big Data' Analysis and Storage


Technology makes its own niches at some point, and data management is a prime example, writes Rob DeFrancesco of Tech Stock Prospector.


Every year sees a new tech catchphrase pushed to the forefront.

For 2011, Big Data is in the spotlight. This is data from mobile devices, call centers, social networking sites, Web transactions, and sensors.

It's unstructured, massive, and constantly being created -- there's no end to the number of Facebook posts, tweets, text messages, blog entries, and online transactions. All of this data needs to be stored, managed, and analyzed.

John Kelly, the director of IBM Research, thinks Big Data will bring big changes to the tech sector. He was recently quoted as saying that Big Data is "where the next big arena of value is going to be in this industry." No wonder Big Blue over the past five years has spent more than $14 billion on analytics acquisitions.

Enterprises that are quick to change the way they deal with this constant flow of information will benefit the most because there are a lot of insights to be gleaned from all of this data. Using real-time analytics, companies can quickly gauge customer sentiment, check shopping trends, monitor marketing campaigns, determine ad placements, and make recommendations based on patterns and behavior.

In addition to Dow Jones components (^DJI), IBM (IBM), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), two of the biggest players in Big Data are EMC (EMC) and Teradata (TDC).

EMC has the Big Data storage and analytics markets covered with its portfolio of Isilon, Atmos, and Greenplum solutions. Revenue from this group more than doubled in the third quarter. On the earnings call, CFO David Goulden said EMC was ramping up its Big Data work force to keep pace with growing demand.

In September, EMC introduced the Greenplum Data Computing Appliance (or DCA), which it calls the industry's first complete Big Data analytics platform. The Greenplum DCA is offered with various modules, one of which is a highly scalable data-warehousing module that integrates database, computing, storage, and networking into an easy-to-use system.

The Greenplum HD Module is the world's first high-performance data co-processing Hadoop appliance module, allowing true co-processing of both structured and unstructured data within a single solution.

In the third quarter, EMC's Information Storage business saw revenue growth of 16%, driven by 28% product revenue growth in the mid-tier. Goulden says EMC is attacking "traditional midrange players head-on" with the new VNX frontline and the new low-end VNXe offering. Since the introduction of the VNXe in March, EMC has added more than 1,300 new customers.

Data warehousing specialist Teradata in April closed its $263 million purchase of Aster Data, a provider of Big Data analytics solutions. In the third quarter, Teradata reported 23% revenue growth, driven by 28% growth in the Americas (62% of total revenue) and 22% growth in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (22% of revenue).

In the US, the company won important new customers in the oil and gas industry, which is an underpenetrated vertical. Other important verticals are health care, manufacturing, and government. In the EMEA region, Teradata experienced the largest number of new customer wins since 2002.

According to CEO Michael Koehler, Teradata is seeing a nice expansion in the pipeline of new business for Aster Data. Teradata's new 2690 Data Warehouse Appliance (available in the first quarter of 2012) doubles the performance and triples the capacity per cabinet compared to its predecessor 2650, which successfully competes against Oracle's Exadata and IBM's Netezza offerings.

Enterprises use Teradata solutions in various ways. For example, a home goods retailer relies upon Teradata appliances to monitor inventory, forecast consumer demand by product line, and then synchronize the inventory to match demand. With improved product availability, the retailer has increased customer satisfaction and reduced expenses.

Editor's Note: This article was written by Rob DeFrancesco of Tech Stock Prospector.

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