HP Expands Its Big Data Analytics Efforts

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At its annual Big Data Conference, the company announces a new release of its Vertica software and its latest work with the open-source community

Enterprises that are inundated by the growth of data are challenged by what Michael Stonebraker calls the “three V’s”—volume, velocity and variety.

There’s too much data being generated, the data is coming at them too quickly and it’s coming from too many sources, from traditional business applications to new places such as the Internet of things (IoT), according to Stonebraker, cofounder and CTO of Tamr, a startup whose platform is designed to help businesses use all of their data.

“It’s all about being agile, getting agile,” he said.

Stonebraker was a guest speaker August 11 here at Hewlett-Packard’s third annual Big Data Conference, where executives talked about the company’s broad, expansive approach to the issue of big data that includes everything from internal efforts to working with open-source communities—including Hadoop and OpenStack—to courting developers. They also announced new big data initiatives, including the latest release of its Vertica analytics platform, expanded work in the open-source community, and a program designed to give startups greater access to HP’s big data software.

Robert Youngjohns, executive vice president and general manager of HP’s software business, said in an interview with eWEEK at the show that the company has been involved in the big data analytics space for years, though it is becoming more vocal about what it has to offer. And big data will play a major role in what HP does when it splits in two in November, creating two new companies.

The big data and analytics will stay with what will be Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which will focus on enterprise IT solutions and services, including data center hardware. But while all of that—including hardware and services—plays a role in the big data story, the focus at the show was HP’s extensive software offerings, along with its work in the open-source community, its partnerships and its developer efforts.

Challenges

Speaking to more than 1,000 attendees at the event, Youngjohns talked about the challenges facing enterprises that are under siege from the amount of data being generated by rapidly growing numbers of connected users and devices, and the trillions of apps that are being created.

The data contains useful information that can be used to enable enterprises to make faster, better business decisions, increase their profits and revenues, reduce costs and expand their market reach, and analytics holds the key to accessing that information, he said. For HP, the challenge is creating the technology and ecosystem that give enterprises the tools they need to analyze the data and extract the useful information.

hp“Everything we do is creating data in vast, vast amounts,” Youngjohns said. “In the last three to five years, the amount of information has overtaken our ability to analyze it. … What we’ve been focusing on is: How do we make this pragmatic? How do we make this real? This is about solving everyday problems.”

Throughout the day, Youngjohns and other HP executives—including Colin Mahony, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Software Big Data business unit, Shilpa Lawande, vice president and general manager of HP’s Big Data Platform business, and Chris Selland, vice president of business development of the Big Data Platform unit—talked about the push within HP to offer customers a broad portfolio of big data products, an open platform, and a way for developers to easily and quickly write applications for its technology.

They also said that while it’s important to talk about larger market themes and future plans, the key is ensuring that HP can address and solve the problems facing businesses now.

“It’s not just big data for big data’s sake,” Mahony told the attendees. “People want to use big data to make an impact.”

Youngjohns said that HP’s “pragmatic” approach is a key differentiator for HP from competitors such as IBM.

“Our challenge, and the challenge for the industry, is [creating the technology] to create value out of all this data,” he said. “We are focused on, how do we make this pragmatic? How do we make this real? … This is about solving everyday problems.”

HP wants to enable customers to use all of their data, which Youngjohns placed in three categories. The first is traditional business data from sources such as ERP and CRM applications, while machine data is created by such systems as sensors and log files. Human data is highly unstructured, ranging from sources such as voice and video to email.

The new release of Vertica—code-named “Excavator”—is designed to enable businesses to quickly take in and analyze streaming data from a variety of sources, including IoT applications. Integrated into Excavator is Apache Kafka, a distributed messaging system for data streaming that will enable the Vertica software to automate data loading and query for real-time analytics.

In the area of open-source software, HP is working with Hortonworks to enable customers to see a 10-fold performance improvement using Hadoop by developing a high-performance access layer that enables SQL queries to run directly on ORCFile.

HP also announced the Haven Startup Accelerator program, which gives early-stage startups affordable access to both HP big data and application delivery management software and services.

Originally published on eWeek.


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