Which Vendors Got it Right? The Shift from BI to Appliance-Driven Big Data

Mark Kettering, the chief executive officer of Brightlight Consulting, made an appearance on theCube during IBM IOD 2012, providing his take on the undying big data trend.

Kettering founded his company eight years ago and has worked in IT for 30 years, granting him the opportunity to witness the transition from traditional business intelligence to analytics first hand.  In his words, “it’s a dream come true.” The executive says that Brightlight’s main focus today is deep analytics – the insight extraction that goes on in complex, multi-terabyte enterprise environments. That’s where the real value is.

Kettering goes on to say that the term “data” itself is constantly changing. Information can no longer fit in columns in rows, and the industry is scrambling to come up with new means of accommodating this unstructured data.  Quantity is also a big factor – he notes that marketers today go through terabytes worth of tweets every day to find out what consumers think about their products.

Big data is still in its infancy, but Kettering believes that a few vendors got it right. One of them is Netezza, which pioneered the concept of tailoring infrastructure for specific workloads. IBM acquired the firm in 2010 and is taking this exact same route with its current analytics portfolio, especially with its PureData appliance.

PureData is the latest addition to the company’s PureSystem ‘expert engineered systems’ line-up. The appliance is available in three different configurations, each optimized for a different workload: transactional, analytical, or real-time. The analytics edition is largely based on Netezza software, while the other two are based on IBM’s homegrown DB2 technology.

The industry veteran tackles yet another topic during the interview: big data adoption. Surprisingly, he lists success as the biggest barrier that stands between big data the enterprise. Companies that perform well are not as keen on implementing analytics as their less competitive peers – those that turn to the technology out of a necessity to gain that business edge.