Last week’s IBM Information On Demand 2012 was all about thinking big, specifically about big data. Co-hosts of The Cube, John Furrier and Dave Vellante, had an opportunity to talk with IBM Software Group’s VP of Business Development, Rob Thomas about what the big data world can expect from IBM in the coming year.
Thomas described his division’s work as laboring in the “plumbing” of an organization, making sure all of the inner workings are understood and can reach their full potential. There are some, Thomas said, who consider big data to be synonymous with Hadoop, but he disagrees. Hadoop is only one of the components that make up the landscape of big data.
The Cube hosts then asked Thomas when big data first appeared on IBM’s radar and became significant. Thomas pointed to the company’s information management dealings 7 years ago. They started to ask how they could stitch together all of these information pieces into something usable. They eventually progressed from focusing solely on databases to focusing on everything surrounding the databases. Fast forward to 2 1/2 years ago, and then IBM began working with big data in a way that changed entire economies, industries, and even countries. From this emerged the concept of “Smarter Planet“.
One of the challenges facing big data vendors is the giant hurdle they must leap to get companies started with big data. IBM’s acquisition of Vivisimo paved the way for easy big data deployment. Vivisimo, Thomas explained, could get a company up and running with big data in as little as two weeks, faster than any business he had seen.
The hosts then asked Thomas what he expected from this year’s Strata conference and if there were any specific types of companies IBM might be interested in acquiring. Thomas said the company is looking for companies that have real traction, that people are actually using their products, and also that they are scalable, as IBM will inevitably scale up any operations an acquisition might be running. He cited its acquisition of Netezza as an example.
To close, Furrier and Vellante asked Thomas what he envisioned in IBM’s future and how it will impact the big data ecosystem. To find out what he said, you can watch the interview online.