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EMC Throws Out Big-Data Lifesaver

Hot on the heels of its survey that shows we are drowning in a growing big-data deluge, EMC is announcing a lifesaver: the Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform (UAP). Intended to serve as a foundation for the company's data analytics strategy, it brings together three Greenplum products into a unified offering: the database for structured data; the enterprise Hadoop offering for the analysis and processing of unstructured data; and Chorus 2.0, a social media collaboration tool for data science teams.

We are facing "a rampant scarcity" for the skills necessary to capitalize on the opportunity to profit from the intersection of big data and data analytics, with only a third of the companies participating in the EMC Data Science Study able to effectively use new data to assist their business decision-making, gain competitive advantage, drive productivity growth, yield innovation and reveal customer insights, says the storage giant. According to Gartner, big data is a term used to acknowledge the exponential growth, availability and use of information in the data-rich landscape of tomorrow. Worldwide information volume is growing annually at a minimum rate of 59% annually. IDC reports that spending on these technologies is growing at about 18% per year and is expected to account for at least 80% of IT spending growth between now and 2020 (IDC Predictions 2012: Competing for 2020).

EMC acquired Greenplum, a pioneer in developing massively parallel, scale-out architectures on commodity x86 hardware, in July 2010. Just 75 days later, it announced the Greenplum Data Computing Appliance, which combines business analytics applications with computer, storage, network and database functionality.

Based on customer input, EMC is making a couple of bets with the new offering, says EMC's Luke Lonergan, VP/CTO, data computing division, and a Greenplum cofounder. "So what we're doing with Greenplum UAP is creating a product that will be a store-once-use-many value proposition." With availability scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, the company has been testing the individual components both internally and with a few customers, but Lonergan says the company has been working on the concept for the last two years.

Big data analytics in general, whether it is a massively parallel processing (MPP) analytical database or a Hadoop-based cluster, is still emerging but picking up momentum, says Julie Lockner, senior analyst and VP, data management, Enterprise Strategy Group. "When IT vendors offer solutions that make it easier for IT to implement these workload-specific solutions in their data center, without breaking traditional data center operational standards, there is one less barrier to entry. A unified platform may be overkill for some organizations; it may be exactly what an organization has been looking for from multiple vendors and can now get it from one. At least with the direction EMC and other vendors in this market are going, organizations that can really benefit from these platforms have more options."

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