IBM Discusses Netezza Role in Information Management Strategy

IBM closed on its acquisition of Netezza, and opened up a bit about where it sees Netezza fitting into its organization.

On Nov. 11 IBM announced it had closed on its $1.7 billion acquisition of data warehousing vendor Netezza, making good on an announcement it made in late September.

At the time of the September announcement, IBM said the acquisition was driven largely by a desire to bring Netezza's analytic capabilities in-house. With the deal now signed and sealed, Bernie Spang, director of strategy and marketing for IBM Information Management Software, shared with eWEEK some of the company's thoughts on its latest prize.

At the moment, the company is evaluating integration opportunities between Netezza and IBM products, he said. The timeline for any integration is still being determined, but the ultimate goal is for Netezza's data warehouse appliances to complement the flexibility of the IBM Smart Analytics System and InfoSphere Warehouse software, he added.

"With the addition of Netezza, IBM can offer clients the most efficient and effective options for how they deploy, manage and maintain their data," Spang said. "Options range from the simplicity of tightly integrated black box appliances to the flexibility of fully customized combinations of software and hardware."

Netezza, he said, will accelerate IBM's data warehouse and business analytics initiatives by "bringing the power of analytics directly into the hands of business users within every department of an organization such as sales, marketing, product development and human resources and into midsized enterprises."

"We will focus on specific client needs and address each environment based on clients existing needs and future requirements," Spang added. "Our clients are likely to have multiple analytic applications which may be best served with a combination of approaches."

"For instance," he said, "a solution may require optimizing both analytic and real-time transactional queries and thus require the flexibility of InfoSphere Warehouse software - either integrated with Cognos BI in a Smart Analytics System or in a custom solution configuration. The same client may have other applications that require high performance analytics with little if any tuning and where speed of deployment - like in days - is a paramount requirement. Netezza appliances may provide the most cost effective way to accelerate these solutions and a broader use of analytics across all parts of the business."

In a blog post after the deal was announced in September, Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus wrote that Netezza could help IBM compete in a price war in the data warehousing market.

"Netezza's offerings do overlap to some degree with the extensive IBM Smart Analytics System (ISAS) product family, which integrates its widely adopted DB2 relational database and other software solutions with an all-IBM hardware layer," he blogged. "However, IBM has not jumped into the price war heretofore with pricing equivalent to Netezza TwinFin or Oracle Exadata, and it has no commercial ISAS-based offerings anywhere in shouting range of $20,000 per terabyte...We expect IBM to rapidly position Netezza's offerings, under its ISAS big top, as its principal data-mart accelerators for both large enterprises and the midmarket."

Spang said the company will continue the Netezza focus on meeting client needs for high performance and simplicity.

"Our clients now have a number of options for deploying data warehouse platforms for their analytics applications - from custom defined and integrated combinations of software and hardware...(to) appliances that are more focused for a specific configuration and thus even easier to deploy and manage," Spang said.