Oracle has escalated the “Big Data” arms race, acquiring Cambridge, Massachusetts-based analytics outfit Endeca.
Endeca’s software will be integrated into the company’s hardware systems as a way of providing “more comprehensive” management of unstructured data — the buzz term du jour in the enterprise IT market — according to Oracle vp Thomas Kurian.
According to Endeca, its MDEX analytics engine is written around a vertical record store, instead of classic tables. The marketing materials go so far as to espouse MDEX’s value over classic relational databases — such as those offered by Oracle. This new weapon in the Oracle arsenal is designed to compete with such platforms as Hadoop — the open source distributed, number-crunching platform — and the analytics software offered by recent HP acquisition Autonomy, a Cambridge, UK-based company.
“For about 80 percent of business analytics reporting you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. There are too many different data points,” Boris Evelson of research firm Forrester told Wired. “Oracle now has a great product in their portfolio.”
Most of the infrastructure computing market is making plays toward organizing the world’s disparate data in one way or another. In the last five years, IBM snatched up a host of outfits for fees totaling over $14 billion. Microsoft just announced that it will port Hadoop to Windows, and Oracle itself is now offering an appliance based on Hadoop.
Yet Oracle’s latest move raise somes eyebrows. This month, Larry Ellison and team made a sport of mocking HP’s $12 billion purchase of Autonomy, claiming it could already do what Autonomy does — cheaper and faster — with its existing relational databases.
Such talk is typical of Oracle. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. “The rigid structure of such databases isn’t designed to handle documents, email and the rest of the mass of user- and machine-generated information that is often lumped under the term ‘Big Data,’” writes Nick Patience of research outfit 451Group.
While Oracle was not immediately available for comment about its Endeca purchase, it would seem the company has quietly recognized that this indeed is the truth.