Microsoft is looking to bolster the analytics capabilities it can offer to customers with the acquisition of a company specialising in pulling in data from multiple sources and silos, including on-premise and in the public cloud.
Microsoft said that it has acquired Metanautix to solve one of the biggest challenges in data analytics, namely how to bring together all of an organisation's data across multiple silos and in different formats to apply analytics and gain useful insights.
"Companies continue to generate enormous volumes of information and aspire to be more data-driven in their strategies and operations. But many struggle to bring together their various sources and siloes of data, and only analyse and use a fraction of all the available information," said Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Data Group, on the firm's blog.
"Metanautix's technology breaks these boundaries to connect the data supply chain no matter what the type, size or location of an organisation's data."
The chief Metanautix asset is the Quest platform, which allows users to access and combine any data as a table, regardless of format and where the data is hosted. This includes records, logs, documents, audio, images and video, stored in traditional data warehouses or SQL database systems, NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra, and enterprise applications such as Salesforce.com.
The key feature of Metanautix's approach is making this wide variety of data accessible by SQL queries, at speed and high scale, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft plans to integrate the technology with components of its own big data and analytics platforms to bring the same benefits to users of its data integration and analytics tools.
"In the coming months, we will have more to share about how we will bring Metanautix technology into the Microsoft data platform, including SQL Server and the Cortana Analytics Suite," Sirosh said.
"As someone who has led complex, large-scale data warehousing projects myself, I am extremely excited about the technology and talent we are bringing to Microsoft with this acquisition. It is another important part of our ongoing efforts to build the intelligent cloud and help our customers fully realise the value of their data."
Metanautix chief executive and co-founder Theo Vassilakis said in a statement: "We look forward to being part of Microsoft's important efforts with Azure and SQL Server to give enterprise customers a unified view of all of their data across cloud and on-premise systems."
Terms and financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Earlier this year Microsoft announced Azure Data Lake Analytics, a new toolset available as a preview, along with Azure Data Lake Store. The firm also announced the availability of Azure HDInsight running on Ubuntu Linux.
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