EMC Moves into Business Analytics with Greenplum Acquisition

Paul Ferrill

Updated · Jul 09, 2010

EMC (NYSE: EMC) has long been dominant in the data storage market; now the company wants a hand in what companies do with all that data.

EMC this week announced that it will acquire Greenplum, which develops data warehousing and business analytics technology. Greenplum will form the foundation of a new “data computing” division within EMC, and will also likely become part of the company’s cloud strategy.

In a statement, EMC storage division president Pat Gelsinger said, “The data warehousing world is about to change. Greenplum’s massively-parallel, scale-out architecture, along with its self-service consumption model, has enabled it to separate itself from the incumbent players and emerge as the leader in this industry shift toward ‘big data’ analytics. Greenplum’s market-leading technology combined with EMC’s virtualized Private Cloud infrastructure provides customers, today, with a best-of-breed solution for tomorrow’s ‘big-data’ challenges.”

Greenplum is built on the open source PostgreSQL database and commodity hardware, giving the company a pricing edge over competitors. It also developed its own MapReduce technology after initially looking at Hadoop.

An EMC spokesperson stressed that the company isn’t trying to compete with data warehousing vendors such as Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL).

“Greenplum is a new approach to data warehousing and business analytics that brings traditional data warehouse approaches along with it,” the spokesperson said. “Customers can integrate existing data warehouses as data sources into a Greenplum environment. EMC will also continue to partner with Oracle and others to enhance their software offerings with storage, security, backup and recovery, etc.”

Greenplum uses a “shared-nothing” massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture designed for analytical processing using virtualized x86 infrastructure. EMC said Greenplum is capable of delivering 10 to 100 times the performance of traditional database software “at a dramatically lower cost.” Customers include NASDAQ OMX, NYSE Euronext, Skype, Equifax, T-Mobile and Fox Interactive Media.

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Paul Ferrill
Paul Ferrill

Paul Ferrill has been writing for over 15 years about computers and network technology. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering as well as a MS in Electrical Engineering. He is a regular contributor to the computer trade press. He has a specialization in complex data analysis and storage. He has written hundreds of articles and two books for various outlets over the years. His articles have appeared in Enterprise Apps Today and InfoWorld, Network World, PC Magazine, Forbes, and many other publications.