Oracle has announced the availability of its Big Data Appliance tool as it follows several of its competitors, such as SAP, into the big data analytics market.
The appliance was announced in October last year at Oracle Open World and includes Cloudera software, which integrates the most popular projects related to Hadoop into a single enterprise-ready package and offers additional management and support services.
Hadoop is a platform that allows users to analyse complex, unstructured data. It is an open-source project administered by the Apache Software Foundation, which has partnered with big data analytics players IBM, EMC, SAP and Teradata.
Running on Oracle Linux, the new Oracle appliance also features Oracle's NoSQL Database Community Edition and Oracle HotSpot Java Virtual Machine.
The appliance will also include an open source distribution of R, used for predictive analytics and statistical modelling.
Oracle also announced the availability of Oracle Big Data Connectors, a software product that helps customers integrate data stored in Hadoop and Oracle NoSQL Database with Oracle Database 11g.
MWD Advisors analyst Helena Schwenk told V3 that while Oracle joins a large number of its competitors in embracing Hadoop, it is doing so in a unique way.
"A large number of firms are embracing Hadoop but in various ways: some are using Hadoop in its own right, like IBM uses Hadoop as a text analytics platform," she said.
"Some firms try to use Hadoop to bridge the gap between the SQL and NoSQL world, like Teradata; and some first tie Hadoop into its core business."
Schwenk suggested Oracle was taking the last of the strategies.
"Oracle is using Hadoop as a processing platform, so it differs from its competitors as it will bring the processed data back into an Oracle environment," she said.
"Oracle had to think carefully about its big data approach as SQL databases are its core business and it would not like anything in competition with this."
Schwenk added that Oracle taking an appliance approach to big data was to be expected.
"The appliance approach to big data allows Oracle to offer customers capabilities not only for Hadoop but for data integration and management tools that allow customers to monitor the appliance," said Schwenk.
"This is to be expected from Oracle as they have a long-running history of providing customers with engineered systems, like Exadata for example."
Big data analysis is expected to be one of the next major areas of development for businesses, allowing them to take advantage of the huge amounts of digital data now being created, although take-up is expected to be slow at first.
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