HP upgrades business intelligence product line

FRANKFURT – Building on its storage announcements from day of the Discover conference, held here, Hewlett-Packard Corp. turned its attention to big data, releasing upgraded versions of its analytics software.

Both HP AppSystems, its application optimization family, and its Vertica analytics platform will now support Apache Hadoop, the company said on day two of its Discover conference in Frankfurt.

Paul Miller, vice-president of converged application systems at HP’s enterprise group, said the decision to provide Hadoop integration in AppSystems grew out of its widespread popularity among customers.

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“What’s great about Hadoop is that it’s in the open-source marketplace,” he said, but added that “with Hadoop tools today, you’re flying relatively blind.”

HP, he said, was adding enterprise tweaks to the distributed file system in AppSystems, including a dashboard that can control both hardware and software. There are also new tools that can determine, for example, if a Hadoop node has failed, he added.

In the same vein, the company said its new version of Vertica Analytics (6.1) has a second HDFS connector for Hadoop and would include improved support for the R statistical modeling language. Basic R functionality was originally introduced in version 6.0.

Colin Mahony, senior vice-president and general manager for HP Vertica, said that HP is bolstering its analytics capabilities to allow companies to monetize their unstructured information, with returns as high as 10 times the initial dollar investment on the technology needed, according to a study he cited during his presentation.

“When people throw away data it’s like throwing away money to me,” Mahony said. And whenever data can be analyzed faster, the profits are higher, he added.

He used the example of a telecommunications company cross-checking customers with less than two months left on their mobile contracts against negative interactions with its service arm.

HP also announced a number of other new products and services, including support for customers running SAP systems, and targeted analytics platforms for telcos, marketing organizations and companies’ legal compliance divisions.

The latter is called the Autonomy Legal & Compliance Performance Suite. Andrew Joiner, CEO of multichannel technologies at HP Autonomy, said the platform can be deployed in its private cloud and will give chief legal officers and chief compliance officers (“not the savviest buyers of IT”) more intuitive key performance indicators. “You can’t govern and manage risk if you can’t understand it,” he said.

With the new platform, these executives can take a “blob” of information in the cloud “and turn it into an information asset.” According to HP, it currently manages 50 PB of “sensitive information” in private cloud environments.HP is also going to hold big data workshops with customers to train them in using their products.

“This is not your grandfather’s data warehouse any more,” said Valerie Logan, vice-president for information management and analytics for HP-ES business solutions. The so-called “transformation workshops” will help customers adapt to new business intelligence strategies, she said.

Following the announcements, HP CEO Meg Whitman reassured the audience at the conference’s plenary session about the overall direction the company is headed in. The company has gotten bad press recently due to financial shortcomings and, at Autonomy, fraudulent accounting practices.

“Despite what you may have heard, innovation is alive and well at HP,” Whitman said.

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