Tibco adds Hadoop support to its Spotfire in-memory analytics

Other features focus on predictive analytics and Apple iPad support

Tibco has brought its Spotfire in-memory analytics software into the burgeoning ecosystem around Hadoop, an open-source framework for processing large sets of information, the company announced Tuesday.

Spotfire 4.5 will become generally available this month and features a data service connector to Hadoop, which is known for its ability to handle unstructured data such as weblogs, sensor information and text. The connector will allow users to combine and analyze information from Hadoop clusters along with structured data from business applications such as an SAP or Oracle ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.

The release also features new, SQL-based integrations with Hewlett-Packard's Vertica analytic database as well as SAP's Sybase IQ database. Both of those products employ columnar storage, an architecture that provides improved performance for data warehousing and BI (business intelligence) applications.

In addition, Tibco is touting its close partnership with enterprise search vendor Attivio. Thanks to a tie-in with Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine platform, Spotfire can now present "data visualization, enhanced analytics of unstructured content and intuitive search and discovery, all in the same dashboard," Tibco said.

Other aspects of the 4.5 update concern predictive analytics. The release includes a library of "pre-packaged predictive methods" as well as access to analytic models from SAS Institute and Mathworks' MATLAB.

Spotfire 4.5 also features an iPad deployment kit and improvements for systems monitoring and management.

Overall, the announcement drew a measured reaction from Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Boris Evelson.

"Spotfire by itself could already do data exploration and discovery -- looking at data without prebuilt models," he said via email. "Now with Hadoop connectors they can do it on much bigger data sets and with Attivio they can also mash it up with unstructured data."

The software also had some predictive analysis capabilities stemming from Tibco's 2008 acquisition of Insightful, Evelson added. However, the integrations with SAS Institute and MATLAB are important "because it'll let clients leverage their existing investments and experience with these languages and not have to rewrite the routines in order to integrate with Spotfire," he said.

However, other aspects of the release, such as the management tooling and iPad support, are less than earth-shattering, Evelson said.

Mobility has become a "basic requirement of any BI platform" and enterprise-grade features for management and scalability are simply not optional as products such as Spotfire become more mature and their vendors seek to win larger deals, according to Evelson.

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

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