HP Unveils Autonomy/Vertica-based Big Data Analytics Platform

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HP announced today a new Big Data Analytics platform based on a combination of Autonomy’s unstructured data analytics engine and Vertica’s fast-loading, real-time analytics database.

HP describes the new platform as “a single processing layer for forming a conceptual, contextual and real-time understanding of all forms of data, both inside and outside an enterprise.”

This is an important move by HP, as it addresses all three of the Big Data V’s – Data Volume, Variety and Velocity. Vertica’s database is adept at quickly loading and processing large amounts of structured data, while Autonomy’s software is adept at deriving meaning from large volumes of unstructured text found in emails, documents, Tweets and other sources. Once integrated with HP’s converged infrastructure offerings, Autonomy IDOL 10 could offer HP customers a single SKU Big Data platform for processing, storing and analyzing large volumes of unstructured and structured data.

“For far too long, organizations have confined structured data to relational databases and unstructured data to simplistic keyword matching technologies,” said Mike Lynch, Executive Vice President of Information Management at HP, in a statement. “IDOL 10 brings these worlds together, allowing organizations to automatically process, understand, and act on 100 percent of their data, in real-time.”

The news, announced at HP Discover happening now in Vienna, was not entirely unexpected but is a critical component to the success – or failure – of the new HP. Though new CEO Meg Whitman reversed course on spinning-out HP’s PC division, the company is betting a large part of its future on building a thriving enterprise software and services business. That means HP needed a credible Big Data Analytics offering as companies across industries look to turn torrents of data into meaningful, actionable insights.

Many investors believe HP overpaid for U.K.-based Autonomy, which it acquired for more than $10 billion earlier this fall. In fact, the acquisition was one of the factors that led to the firing of then HP CEO Leo Apotheker. Since then, pressure has been building for HP to prove the acquisition will bear fruit. As for Vertica, HP had been largely silent on its plans for the Massachusetts vendor, which it acquired in March.

Just last month I argued that HP had the building blocks to build just such a Big Data Analytics platform.

Vertica can also help HP put a more positive spin on its pricey Autonomy acquisition. That is, combining Vertica’s columnar, lightening-fast analytic database with Autonomy’s unstructured text analytics technology would result in a compelling Big Data platform that more and more enterprises are hungry for. Of course, integrating Vertica and Autonomy is no trivial task and will take time, but HP should start articulating this vision – if this is in fact the direction it decides to go – to garner some genuine enthusiasm.

HP can now walk into any customer scenario and credibly claim it offers a Big Data Analytics platform that rivals similar offerings from IBM and Oracle. It is also a good compliment to alternative Big Data approaches like Hadoop, as Vertica has long had the ability to integrate processed, Hadoop-based data.

That said, HP still has to do the hard work of training its salesforce around Autonomy IDOL 10 and successfully bring it to market. It’s services division must also get up-to-speed on the real-world Big Data business problems HP customers face and how this new platform can address them. And then there’s the message. Big Data is Big News today, and breaking through the noise coming from the well-oiled Big Data marketing machines of HP’s competitors will not be easy.