Dell’s new analytics pitch: It’s all about the applications

Dell Analytics Insight Module

Dell Technologies Inc. is jumping into the analytics fray with a platform targeted at data scientists and analytics professionals that harmonizes data from different sources into a combined analytics and application development engine.

The Analytics Insight Module is targeted at hybrid cloud environments and is aimed at addressing some of the complexity problems that cause data scientists to spend as much as 80 percent of their time looking for and massaging information to make it useful.

“Customers are looking for an end-to-end analytics lifecycle solution for discovering data, ingesting it and creating actionable insights,” said Ted Bardasz, senior director of product management for hybrid cloud platforms at Dell Technologies, in a CubeConversation interview with Wikibon Chief Analyst David Vellante.

The analytics initiative gets Dell into a market that IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co., SAP SE and other enterprise heavyweights have targeted as strategic. Dell is betting that the opportunity is so large, and its own operational advantage so great, that it can make a significant dent, even as a late entrant. It has a leg up with Pivotal, whose Cloud Foundry is a widely used open-source application development platform.

Dell aims to deliver a turnkey hardware/software platform that automates much of the data discovery and transformation process that slows big data projects. “It gives data scientists the ability to see what’s in the data lake as well is to sample content stores within the enterprise and the cloud,” Bardasz said. “So it’s not necessary to push everything into the data lake. You can sample and bring in data on demand.” The data discovery capabilities were developed through a partnership with Attivio Inc.

The user interface is designed specifically for the needs of data scientists, data engineers, data architects and business analysts, Bardasz said. The package includes a data ingestion module and a strong security component developed in partnership with BlueTalon Inc. that provides cell-, row- and column-level security and the ability to obfuscate, redact and tokenize data.

An overarching goal of the initiative is to tie big data analytics more closely to the application development process, said Jeff Kelly, principal product marketing manager for data and analytics at Pivotal. “Companies will get value from big data through applications. That’s really why Pivotal was created,” he told Vellante. “Companies build these great predictive models and then they die in PowerPoint because companies have no way to turn them into applications.”

Dell partnered with Zaloni Inc. to develop a workflow component of the Analytics Insight Module so that “data scientists are working shoulder-to-shoulder with the application developers on the same platform,” Bardasz said.

Availability is planned in November. Pricing will be based upon capacity.