BI firms welcome HP to data warehouse space

HP this week announced that it will be entering the data warehouse space with Neoview, a data warehouse platform that integrates hardware, software, and services.

According to Geoff Kereluik, HP Canada’s vice-president of marketing and alliances, the suite includes the appliance, the server, system, database, software, and services (including basic integration and maintenance).

Gartner research director Mark Beyer said that HP’s recent acquisitions will bolster its foray into this new space. “They have a good base from which to build a data warehouse management system — the Tandem NonStop codebase. They didn’t pick it up wholesale; they took the best of it and advanced it on its own, including capabilities for mass retrieval and parts of the operating system,” said Beyer.

“They have a significant advantage in their acquisition of a significant data warehouse implementation company, Knightsbridge Solutions. They have a lot of knowledge about HP’s competition. They know Teradata implementations, they know Oracle implementations, and they know IBM implementations.”

Beyer said that HP could also benefit from its diversity — being both a hardware and software vendor will ease the transition into the market as it doesn’t have to “build up from zero to enter the appliance market like Data Allegro and Nettezza had to do,” he said.

HP also already has an existing customer base, according to Beyer. “HP is a popular platform for deployment of data warehouse solutions today,” he said.

Jennifer Francis, vice-president of market development for business intelligence software vendor Cognos, said HP will meet with a lot of success due to its longstanding relationships in the industry. “They’ve supplied a lot of infrastructure, and have relationships with the IT people in that industry. They’re seen as trustworthy in the field,” she said.

Scott Van Valkenburgh, the director of global platform and ISV partners with business intelligence software vendor SAS, agreed, saying that these customer relationships can be leveraged into moving customers over from competing vendors. “And you have the tech support (built in with the services component),” said Valkenburgh.

Getting customers to switch vendors could be tough, though, said Beyer, as HP is seen primarily as a hardware vendor. “There will be market skepticism. Oracle is the most predominant data warehouse platform in the market,” said Beyer.

Beyer foresees the company hitting a snag or two along the way, if management isn’t careful. “They’ve purchased mountains of (data warehouse) experience, but when it comes to data warehouses and business intelligence, they are new to the game, and there will be some painful implementation learning curves,” according to Beyer, who said that HP has been wise in trying to mitigate that risk by implementing a reference trial of the product for the last six months.

These types of strategies could be key in keeping Neoview on track, said Beyer. “Execution is going to be the biggest challenge. How do they push out a deep database experience into the right business unit at HP? They could squander the brain trust,” he said.

As long as the roll-out is managed properly, Beyer thinks that HP has a definite shot at being successful among its existing clients, and even luring some new clients in, too.

According to Kereluik, HP is using industry standard components in Neoview, driving down the cost of the product. This could drive adoption of Neoview among new customers.

“Pricing and throughput will challenge Teradata, but because of market skepticism, HP won’t overwhelm Teradata,” Beyer said.

Competing in the data warehouse and business intelligence market could be tricky for HP, according to Beyer, due to its partnerships with vendors who already operate in the space, including Oracle. “They’re going to have to be very careful because they’re partners with Oracle. They’ll have to manage the market very carefully so as not to compete — this is a potential channel for conflict,” said Beyer. “Because of that, HP might hold back a little bit in most spaces where there’s more competition than cooperation, and evaluate on a case-by-case basis.”

Kereluik said that he doesn’t see Oracle, Cognos, or SAS as competitors — rather, he sees them as “complementary players.” Said Kereluik: “If an organization is in need of an enterprise-wide data warehouse, they will already have the tools in place, which plug in to the front-end of Neoview. The only (real competitor is) Teradata.”

Teradata was unable to comment at press time.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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