EMC to acquire data analyzer Greenplum

After the deal closes, EMC will form a new division to help individuals derive answers from big data sets

EMC plans to acquire Greenplum for an undisclosed sum and form a new division around the privately held company's data warehousing technology.

Greenplum sells software for analyzing large amounts of structured data, breaking up the information into multiple databases and working on each separately for quick results, according to co-founder and President Scott Yara. Its technology works across both computing and storage infrastructure to allow individual employees, instead of just IT departments, to ask questions and generate answers about an organization's data.

EMC aims to integrate this kind of processing more tightly with its storage systems to further increase performance. All this can also be implemented increasingly across cloud-based and virtualized storage and computing, the companies said. The technology could also potentially be used in EMC's backup and recovery business, based on its recent Data Domain acquisition, and its RSA security business, said Chuck Hollis, vice president and global marketing chief technology officer at EMC.

The buyout is just the latest in a string of acquisitions being carried out as IT vendors gear up to address the coming trend of cloud computing.

Following the close of the all-cash acquisition, which is expected in the third quarter of this year, EMC will form a "data computing product division" around the technology. The setup will be similar to that of the security and backup divisions, as well as the information intelligence unit that was formed after the company's acquisition of Documentum. Greenplum's technology is designed for structured data, whereas Documentum's is unstructured data, Hollis said.

EMC said it will continue to sell Greenplum's entire portfolio of products while also developing an integrated hardware and software offering for higher performance and lower implementation costs.

Greenplum's customers include the Nasdaq and NYSE Euronext stock exchanges, Skype, T-Mobile USA and credit-monitoring company Equifax. T-Mobile is already using the company's "self-service" model, in which employees within the business can create new virtual databases and initiate queries on the fly, Yara said. Greenplum helps T-Mobile analyze all the activity on its mobile networks to better target customers and prevent fraud, he said. In other organizations, it can also be used with surveillance data and to monitor compliance.

Greenplum, based in San Mateo, California, was founded in 2003 and has 140 employees, who will be integrated into EMC, according to Yara. Greenplum CEO Bill Cook will head the new division at EMC and will report to Pat Gelsinger, president and chief operating officer of EMC Information Infrastructure Products.

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