EMC unveils Hadoop appliance, BI software

Joins with start-up MapR Technologies to create free and enterprise versions of Hadoop-based data analytics software

EMC unveiled on Monday a purpose-built appliance for processing both structured and unstructured data sets for business analytics tasks.

EMC today also announced the availability of two new business intelligence software products -- the Hadoop-based EMC Greenplum HD Community and Enterprise Editions -- at its EMC World user conference here.

[ Also on Monday, SnapLogic introduced a Big Data tool for Hadoop. | Discover what's new in business applications with InfoWorld's Technology: Applications newsletter. | Keep up with the latest approaches to managing information overload and staying compliant in InfoWorld's interactive Networking Deep Dive. ]

Service contracts for both software products includes installation, training, and global technical support.

The Greenplum HD Community Edition is a fully certified downloadable free software stack. The software is based on Hadoop, an Apache data management software, and is optimized to run on virtual machines.

Greenplum HD Enterprise Edition is tailored for corporate data centers, with capabilities like fault tolerance through automated node failure detection and notification, multisite management and data management features such as snapshots and wide area replication.

It also offers simple data loading from databases and access via a native NFS (Network File System) interface.

EMC claims its version of Hadoop delivers two to five times the performance over the standard packaged versions of Apache Hadoop.

EMC had signed an agreement with Cloudera last fall to use its Hadoop-based data management software and services.

However, Scott Yara, vice president of products with EMC's Data Computing Division and co-founder of Greenplum, said today that the company is moving in a "new direction" with partner MapR Technologies, a start-up in development mode for the past two years.

MapR built a proprietary replacement for the HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) that can replace existing installations of the Hadoop file system.

John Schroeder, CEO of MapR, said his company's version of MapReduce technology returns far faster data analytics results, and can manage larger data sets on fewer machines than current Hadoop iterations.

"We can reduce the size of a cluster," he told a gathering of reporters and analysts gathered at the show. "That's a tremendous TCO savings."

Luke Lonergan, CTO of EMC's Data Computing Division and another co-founder of Greenplum, added that EMC is working with dozens of resellers to get the MapR Hadoop software to customers. The distribution channels should go live later the second quarter of this year.

No pricing has yet been released for the Enterprise-edition.

"Hadoop has played a leading role in the transformation from traditional data warehousing to Big Data analytics," said John Webster, a senior partner with research firm the Evaluator Group, in a statement. "EMC's Hadoop commercialization strategy is aimed at streamlining and bulletproofing Hadoop for enterprise users, making Hadoop more of a must-have real-time analytics tool for the enterprise."

EMC's Hadoop appliance

Along with its new software products, EMC introduced an updated Greenplum Data Computing Appliance that runs Hadoop for easy installation of the business intelligence technology.

The new Greenplum HD Data Computing Appliance is built on top of Intel X86 servers and it uses both a structured database built by Greenplum, which EMC acquired last year, and the Apache open source version of Hadoop. The older version of the appliance is based on Sun Fire x64-based servers.

According to Yara, administrators can read and write files in parallel from Greenplum to HDFS, enabling rapid data sharing. Cross-platform analysis can be performed using Greenplum SQL and advanced analytic functions accessing data on HDFS.

"We're here to build a big data analytics stack," Yara said. "It's a unified stack whether it's for structured data in Greenplum's database, or through a data computing appliance."

The new Hadoop appliance is expected to be able to scale to a large number of nodes, but EMC did not disclose details.

The appliance is due out in the third quarter of this year, Yara said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is lmearian@computerworld.com. Read more about BI and analytics in Computerworld's BI and Analytics Topic Center.

This story, "EMC unveils Hadoop appliance, BI software" was originally published by Computerworld.