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EMC Buys Data Warehousing Vendor

EMC announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Greenplum, a provider of analytic database management systems. Once it's finalized, the deal will give EMC the software it needs to compete more directly in the fast-growing data warehousing and petabytes-scale analytics market. Greenplum has been a pioneer in developing massively parallel, scale-out architectures on commodity X86 hardware. Founded in 2003, the privately held company has more than 100 customers, including marquis accounts Skype, Equifax, and NASDAQ. Greenplum has stayed focused on developing its database management system (DBMS), letting customers deploy the software on suggested configurations of third-party hardware. EMC has been a long-term storage partner. Upon completion of the deal, expected in the third quarter, Greenplum will become the foundation of a new data computing product division within EMC's Information Infrastructure business.

"This puts EMC on a new footing in the data warehousing market, making them a full-stack vendor of appliances with their own hardware and integrated software," said James Kobielus, an analyst with Forrester Research. IBM, Oracle (with Sun) and HP are the only other vendors that provide the full stack of hardware and software. Teradata and Netezza source their hardware from third-party manufacturers.

EMC said it will continue to offer Greenplum's current product portfolio while adding EMC reference architectures as well as an integrated (hardware and software) appliances, promising optimized performance and rapid deployment. Since EMC does not offer processing servers, it remains to be seen which of Greenplum's other hardware partners -- HP, Cisco, Dell and Oracle Sun -- will be included in the offering. The deal might also have repercussions for partnerships EMC has with other data warehousing vendors, including Microsoft, which is expected to release its SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Edition this fall. EMC could not be reached in time for comment on this story.

Having a large corporate parent should give Greenplum a boost, allaying concerns would-be customers might have about long-term survival and support for the brand. EMC's global sales and marketing muscle and research and development deep pockets will "open new doors of opportunity and accelerate delivery" of new products, said Greenplum CEO Bill Cook in a statement. "Greenplum is on a lot of customer short lists, and now that they are soon to be a part of EMC, they are a force to be reckoned with," Kobielus said.

The EMC-Greenplum pairing could spark yet more consolidation in the data warehousing market, with Sybase and its Sybase IQ product already set to become part of the SAP portfolio. Teradata, Netezza, Vertica and Aster Data are among the prominent independents remaining, though the first two would certainly command steep acquisition costs. Greenplum is a good fit with EMC in part because it specializes in storage-intensive, large-scale deployments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on EMC's earnings in fiscal year 2010. EMC said Cook will lead the new data computing division within EMC reporting to Pat Gelsinger, President and Chief Operating Officer of EMC Information Infrastructure Products.