IBM Launches Netezza Analytics Appliance to Wrangle Big Data

IBM launches a new analytics appliance, the IBM Netezza High Capacity Appliance to help customers deal with the challenges of big data.

IBM has announced a new analytics appliance that enables users to analyze up to 10 petabytes of data in a matter of minutes, the IBM Netezza High Capacity Appliance.

IBM officials said the new technology is designed to help industries uncover patterns and trends from large data sets while meeting compliance mandates.

The new IBM Netezza High Capacity Appliance addresses the issue of big data, a growing challenge where organizations are amassing huge amounts of data. Banks, insurance companies, health care organizations and communications services providers are required by industry regulators to retain massive amounts of data-in some cases up to a decade. As data-retention laws continue to evolve, organizations are faced with the challenge to store and analyze ever-expanding "big data" sets that may not be directly related to daily operations, yet still hold potential business value, IBM officials said.

However, using the new IBM appliance, organizations can more easily sift through petabytes of data-including banking and mobile phone transactions, insurance claims, electronic medical records and sales information. Companies can also analyze this information to reveal new trends on consumer sentiment, product safety, and sales and marketing effectiveness, IBM said in a press release on the new appliance.

By enabling users to analyze petabytes of data in minutes, IBM is changing the face of analytics with its new appliance. A petabyte is equal to one quadrillion bytes or 1.024 terabytes, which is the equivalent of 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets of text or 13.3 years of HD-TV video. Google processes about 24 petabytes of data per day. AT&T has about 19 petabytes of data transferred through its networks each day. And the World of Warcraft game uses 1.3 petabytes of storage to maintain the game.

Yet, the IBM Netezza appliances are workload-optimized systems based on IBM BladeCenter technology that analyze petabytes of data significantly faster than competing options, and at a much lower total cost of ownership, IBM said. The new appliance can be up and running in 24 hours and analyze data at a much lower cost per terabyte. The appliance is the first to be delivered by IBM since it acquired Netezza in November 2010, IBM officials said.

Kelley Blue Book, a trusted resource for prices, values, and expert and consumer reviews on new and used vehicles, will be testing the new appliance to analyze clickstream data created by users surfing their Website. The company will be able to analyze this information to see what topics visitors cared most about, such as used and new vehicle prices, safety recall and warranty data, and vehicle buyer reviews.

"Kelley Blue Book will evaluate the new appliance to unlock the value of archived data in search of new ways to grow our business," Karen Simmons, senior director of Data Warehousing at Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement. "This appliance allows organizations like ours to take a fresh look at historical information and use the insights we gain for competitive advantage."

Moreover, IBM said nearly 500 clients around the world are using Netezza technology today. Battelle's Pacific Northwest Division is using Netezza as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, the U.S.'s largest, regional collaboration. In the demonstration, 60,000 customers in 11 utilities, across five states, will share a unique digital signal for their smart meters that will allow them to make better decisions about their energy use.

"The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project uses IBM Netezza analytics to research new ways to improve the grid's ability to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy," Ron Melton, the project's director, said in a statement. "Analytics allows us to verify the effectiveness of the smart-grid technology being developed by the project, which is key to the eventual scale-up and support for renewable resources."

Meanwhile, with the appliance news, IBM is expanding its big data analytics portfolio with Netezza technology to help clients capture and analyze all types of data on a massive scale.

IBM Netezza technology joins IBM's Hadoop-based BigInsights software, as well as Streams software-both born in IBM Research-in IBM's portfolio of workload-optimized big data technologies. The software incorporates technologies similar to those in IBM's Watson computer system, including unstructured text analytics and indexing that enables users to analyze rapidly changing data formats and types on the fly.

IBM recently announced a $100 million investment for continued research on technologies and services that will enable clients to manage and capitalize on data as it continues to grow in diversity, speed and volume.