It is time to close the door on 2012 and open the door into 2013 in the realm of big data. While many such closings and openings have already been published, I decided to wait until we had fresh 2013 spending intentions data, which just came in. Subscribers will be able to access the data later this month in a report entitled 2013 IT Spending Intentions Survey. I also wanted to clear my head from the holidays in order to look backward and forward with a fresh perspective. Therefore, every day this week I will take a segment of big data and will render a final 2012 reckoning with a related 2013 prognostication in the order of: Monday – hardware, Tuesday – database, Wednesday – software solution, Thursday – cloud, and Friday an overall “ingest to insight” 2012 big data vendor of the year and macro-trends for 2013.
2012 Big Data Hardware Vendor of the Year Finalists: Cisco, EMC, Oracle
After fits and starts, Cisco broached the converged infrastructure market in 2012 with a well-thought out approach of spanning the market through a variety of targeted partnerships and packages. In the big data space, it produced several UCS offerings specifically for Cloudera, Greenplum (EMC), Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP big data solutions. Cisco also took big data steps to work with integration vendors such as Informatica and Talend, “Not Only SQL" database vendors such as MarkLogic, and stepped forward as one of the handful of certified SAP HANA resellers. Cisco put itself squarely on the big data map, perhaps to surprise of many competitors, during 2012.
It is a little difficult to find clear boundaries between EMC the storage vendor (especially Isilon in the big data context), EMS the information management company, EMC the big data platform company (Greenplum), and EMC the parent of the world's most important virtualization vendor (VMware), but suffice it to say that EMC has placed itself into play as a key strategic supplier for big data in a big way. While the natural reaction to EMC, in terms of hardware, is to focus on storage, the EMC Greenplum Data Computing Appliance (DCA) was one of the first and most well-designed dedicated big data appliances. While sales execution may not have quite measured up to EMC’s own standards, I found it telling that EMC really "gets" big data by the fact that DCA is equally as optimized for memory as for storage.
Oracle, in one of the more talked-about moves in the industry during 2012, added its Oracle Big Data Appliance to its list of engineered systems, and promises to offer its appliance "as a service" through its cloud in the near future. About a year ago, Oracle Big Data Appliance, by not just adding Cloudera software but also the recently updated Oracle NoSQL database and open source R, pioneered a new standard for how to craft a big data appliance. My only wish is that Oracle had tossed in their Hadoop connector gratis versus a paid-for add-on. In 2013, Oracle may need to respond to big data plus data warehouse in the same appliance because of the likes of Teradata, but regardless, many of those who raised eyebrows early in 2012 at the Oracle Big Data Appliance are now part of the following herd.
Winner: Cisco, for not only creating a thoughtful vision and plan for big data infrastructure, but also and more importantly executing on it in both direct and indirect channels during 2012.