Hewlett-Packard, which has been in the data analytics business literally for generations, is reinventing itself in this fast-developing enterprise IT segment.
Vertica, which HP acquired in February 2011 to compete with IBM, Oracle's Exadata and EMC Greenplum, on June 20 launched Vertica Analytics Platform 5.0, a major release that enables an IT system to analyze more than 1 petabyte of data in real time.
Vertica 5.0 enables users to analyze and manage their business information by providing a real-time parallel processing engine for large workloads and a software development kit (SDK) that provides the ability to customize and insert customer- and use case-specific query logic into the Vertica database for fully parallel execution.
Part of Vertica's secret sauce, HP Vertica Vice President of Product Marketing Scott Howser told eWEEK, is that it can process more information in a smaller physical footprint than its competitors can.
"Based on the way we store, encode, compress and operate on the data, and also upon our native columnar architecture, we're capable of up to 30-1 compression ratios on raw data that we write down to disk," Howser said. "We do all of our analytics on the data in its reduced form."
Howser said that Vertica in 2008 was the first analytics company to provide a cloud-based service, through its partnership with Rightscale. "We have a fair number of customers who actually run their analytics in the cloud," Howser said.
Howser said Vertica 5.0 provides:
- An SDK to write custom methods for analyzing data directly in the Vertica database. Users can implement MapReduce and other user-defined functions through standard SQL queries.
- Enhanced Native In-Database Analytics, which include advanced native SQL analytic functions such as Geospatial, Event-Series Pattern Matching, Event-Series Joins, and Advanced Aggregate Statistical and Regression.
- Performance improvements in areas such as subqueries, database statistics, lifecycle management, query optimization, data resegmentation and join filtering.
- Manageability enhancements, including expanded backup capabilities with greater operational flexibility.
- Cluster Cloning, which are capabilities for on-demand creation of Vertica databases for any workload with auto-sizing and auto-tuning across different topologies and physical designs. This allows users to quickly spin off subsets of their databases for analytical sandboxes or focused analysis of complex data.
Vertica Now a Strategic Asset for HP
HP is putting a lot of importance on this market. The company wasted no time introducing Vertica to the media and to its partners and customers March 14 in San Francisco, only a month after the acquisition was announced.
HP demonstrated an example of the Vertica appliance, the size of a small refrigerator, running on the event stage. The Vertica Analytics Appliance is a fully integrated technology stack housed on HP Converged Infrastructure, including hardware, management software applications, consulting and HP Solution Support services.
CEO L??Â«o Apotheker said the system will deliver "real-time analytics for the next generation of business intelligence." The system will provide "limitless scaling" along with "load and go simplicity" for such tasks and Website traffic analysis, retail sales trend analysis or pharmaceutical research, Apotheker said.
With the introduction of the Vertica appliance, HP is moving into a market that IBM has long claimed as its specialty. But in a post-presentation press conference, Apotheker vehemently denied that HP was playing catch-up to IBM or anyone else in the analytics or cloud computing fields.
HP has an established presence in the analytics field. But with the new appliance, "HP can really open up that market, especially in the market for analytics as a service," he said.
Vertica 5.0 is available immediately worldwide as a software download directly from Vertica and will soon be available on the HP Vertica Analytics System. Pricing is based on a flexible licensing model calculated on the amount of data loaded into the Vertica Analytics Platform, Howser said.
HP Vertica's real-time analytics platform has more than 350 users in several industries, including finance, communications, online Web development and gaming, health care, consumer marketing and retail.
eWEEK West Coast Managing Editor John Pallatto contributed to this story.