A Little Late Musing on the Greenplum Acquisition

VP product marketing, Acunu

I wasn’t planning to blog about EMC’s acquisition of Greenplum since Phil Francisco has commented here and many others, more well qualified than me, have had their say (eg here), but it did occur to me that one point this illustrates is how data warehousing got interesting again after ten years as a bit player in the drama of information technology. Suddenly, led i have to say by Netezza back in 2003, a whole generation of disruptive innovators have entered what was a stagnant market of established players and are redefining the segment. Richard Hackathorn said as much at EnZee Universe.

And it's what i had that in mind last week talking with someone from one of Greenplum’s software-only competitors. His take was that the choice was data warehouse machine or software only on a self-assembly hardware configuration (sounds like a grid from IKEA – i’d like to see the allen key in that kit). And Greenplum had decided warehouse machine was the way to go. Of course i wouldn’t be a good Netezza corporate citizen if i didn’t observe that there’s two classes of data warehouse machine: the true appliance (Netezza, out-of-the-box) and the customized data warehouse machine (either vendor-assembled hardware configuration or workload-specific tuned database on commodity hardware, or both).

That doesn’t alter what i took away from the conversation, which was that Greenplum tried the software-only route and then plumped for the machine option. Of course they may well have been made an offer they couldn’t sensibly refuse (in the original sense not the horse’s-head-in-the-bed sense). If so, i guess it’s a case of EMC not being content to be the optional storage component in a configured data warehouse machine and indulging in a bit of supply chain integration. These are interesting times for vendors, customers and, as ever in such situations, analysts and consultants.