IT platform-as-a-service provider Pivotal is giving a good old-fashioned college try at herding cats in the Hadoop big data analytics realm.
On Feb. 17 the San Francisco-based arm of storage and data protection giant EMC launched what it bills as the "world's first open-sourced enterprise-class suite of big data products" that it sees as an eventual common-denominator platform for starting and running Hadoop deployments.
At the same time, Pivotal and Hortonworks announced a partnership that aligns both companies around a core of Apache Hadoop-based capabilities, including product integrations, joint engineering and production support.
Pivotal claims its new Big Data Suite will enable enterprises to achieve greater data agility and speedier cloud deployments. In keeping with the "simple" message, the package even sports a single stock-keeping unit (SKU) number for both application developers and data analysts.
Pivotal Wants to Be an All-Purpose Platform
As is common in the IT world, when one company comes out with an IT solution built upon open-source software, a flock of similar-minded competitors materializes to add their own twist—big or small—to the recipe and offer alternatives within the market. That's the free market. However, in the IT systems business, a free market like this can lead to chaos: the crisscrossing of apps, services and platforms that can actually work to the detriment of the IT staff if it is not careful.
Pivotal aims to untangle these issues involving Hadoop-as-centerpiece inside a data analytics system. The cloud-based, enterprise-class open-source package consists of Pivotal Hadoop, Pivotal HAWQ (SQL processing engine), Pivotal Greenplum Database and Pivotal GemFire XD in-memory database.
Pivotal's Big Data Suite is a single bundle designed to remove barriers to big data deployments by providing access to flexible deployment of a data lake (single pool of storage), tools for advanced analytics and data science, and a portfolio of building blocks for supporting custom data-centric, scale-out applications.
The Big Data Suite provides support for bare-metal commodity hardware, appliance-based delivery, virtualized instances, and now public, private and hybrid cloud support. In addition, Pivotal Cloud Foundry will be included, providing customers with the ability to leverage Big Data Suite capabilities in Pivotal.
Helping Customers Find Innovation
"Today's announcements are really about the moves we are making in 2015 to help all of our customers and prospects achieve this innovation," Pivotal Vice President of Products Michael Cucchi told eWEEK, "so they can become competitive in this new [IT] world."
SQL, as venerable as it is, remains a major part of all this, Cucchi said. "You need a degree to code in Java, but a 6-year-old can write a SQL query," he said. "We found that by far, across the enterprise, SQL is the most valuable access methodology down into data on Hadoop."
When new technology comes into an ecosystem system, "there are all these dependencies," he said. "There are analytics software vendors, infrastructure people, hardware vendors—and everybody's worried about how to build a predictable, stable environment that an enterprise can really lean on. SQL is part of that."
Large enterprises that Pivotal talked to during the past couple of years were looking for an open-source stack because "they didn't want to have another decade of lock-in," Cucchi said. "They want to be able to reach their hands into the code and manipulate it—actually control the direction of the code base, or the functionality of the product. The lock-in piece is something that burned customers over the last decade."
In another news item, big data analytics software and services providers GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, EMC, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and VMware announced their intent to create an industry association called the Open Data Platform (ODP). The association will promote open-source-based big data technologies, optimize testing among and across the ecosystem's vendors, and accelerate the ability of enterprises to build or implement data-driven applications.
For trial and pricing information on the Pivotal Big Data Suite, go here.