IBM releases Hadoop box and database technology for quicker data insights


IBM announced a new PureData appliance for Hadoop and technology for speeding up analytic databases. The announcements come at a good time, with data sets growing and enterprises hankering for easy and fast analysis capability.

IBM talked up the latest ways in which it has sped up databases and introduced a Hadoop appliance at a press and analyst event in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday. The developments aim to bring enterprises closer to running analytics on more types and greater quantities of data as close to real time as possible — a higher and higher priority as big-data projects proliferate.

In the long run, as more and more data piles up and in greater varieties, IBM wants to help to prevent its customers from drowning in the deluge of data and instead give them tools to get better results, such as more revenue, said Bob Picciano, general manager of information management at IBM Software. That’s why tools have to be fast, capable of working on huge data sets and easy to use.

Toward that end, IBM announced BLU Acceleration. When a user of an IBM database such as DB2 runs a query, BLU quickly slims down a big set of data to the amount needed for analysis and spreads tiny workloads across all available compute cores to give a result. One feature of BLU — data skipping — essentially fast-forwards over the data that’s not needed and hones in on the small area that is. And with BLU, data can stay compressed for almost the entire duration of the analysis. IBM claimed BLU produces results a thousand times faster than a previous version of the DB2 database without BLU in some tests.

IBM also unveiled another IBM PureData box tailored for big-data purposes, this time around Hadoop. Previous boxes in the line include the PureData System for Analytics. The IBM PureData System for Hadoop appliance will become available later this year. It enables customers to start loading data in 90 minutes, compared with two or three weeks for a company’s Hadoop instance in a data center, said Phil Francisco, vice president of Netezza product management and product marketing at IBM Software. The box can store data processed in Hadoop right in the box, a perk for companies facing retention requirements.

Look for IBM to offer more big-data hardware and software. The company has spent $16 billion on big-data and analytics acquisitions, and it wants to “spend as much organically as well as inorganically to figure out what clients need in this space,” said Inhi Cho Suh, vice president of information management product strategy at IBM Software. Meanwhile, Picciano said IBM will soon come out with a way to do for many servers what the BLU Acceleration does with the processors inside a single server.

The new IBM products sound like they could speed up analytics. If enterprises don’t believe the need is there now, they will as data gets bigger.