Does HP's deal with Microsoft signal the death of Neoview?

Hewlett-Packard's Neoview data warehousing platform was said to be Mark Hurd's baby, but it never took off

Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft's unveiling Wednesday of a series of data warehousing appliances has some observers sounding the death knell for HP's Neoview platform.

Neoview was launched several years ago under the tenure of former HP CEO Mark Hurd, but has failed to gain perceptible traction in the market.

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The Microsoft-HP boxes announced Wednesday join the companies' existing HP Enterprise Data Warehouse for SQL Server, which was rolled out in November. The new appliances, which combine Microsoft software with HP hardware, include a Business Data Warehouse product for small and midsize companies, a Business Decision Appliance for BI (business intelligence), and a messaging platform for Microsoft Exchange. A database consolidation appliance is also on the way.

Although HP clearly hasn't abandoned appliances as a product strategy, it looks as though Neoview "is pretty much history," said Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus.

A number of things went wrong with Neoview, according to Kobielus. For one, HP pricing remained "way too high" over the past few years, he said.

Also, while Neoview is not a poorly architected platform, "it wasn't really packaged up in any way with any differentiating technology," Kobielus said. Products like Oracle's Exadata -- which Hurd, in his capacity as Oracle co-president, is now charged with selling -- offered innovations like flash-based caching and have "cleaned [HP's] clock," he added.

Nor did HP promote Neoview as "really a solution platform for channel partners to build applications on," he said.

Analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research called Neoview "an abject failure."

"The product evidently never worked well enough," he said. "After the first round of loyal HP customers around the world who gave it a try, there was no further identifiable sales traction. Other vendors haven't reported seeing Neoview competitively for a long time."

New analytic database products "typically are distinguished by nothing except price and performance," Monash added. "Any other virtues require some product maturity. So if you don't have price and performance when you're starting out, you don't really have anything."

"I would be surprised if we ever saw significant sales and marketing efforts for Neoview again," he said. It would also be surprising if HP gained a single additional Neoview customer from here out, he said.

Spokespeople for HP did not reply to a request for comment.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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