Bloor Research, David Norris, Nov 23, 2011.
The biggest barriers that I see to the widespread adoption of Big Data is the skills that are required to deliver the benefits that we all agree can be obtained. In the standard MIS layers of the BI tool suites (Reporting, Dashboards, and OLAP) we are seeing an increasing emphasis on what is being labelled Agile BI, a tool set that offers the same power as the traditional tools, but which costs less, is easier to use, is targeted at the business user and not the IT professional, is far more visual in how they are controlled and what they output, and which increase productivity in a step-change.
But in the area in which Big Data offers the biggest potential return, that of data mining, the application of statistical and mathematical modelling to identify patterns of significance, there has been no comparable change, until now. Alpine Miner is the first offering I have seen that is clearly addressing the challenges of the scale and affordability of exploiting Big Data.
... Alpine Data Labs provide the first sight of a next generation of data mining solution, which copes with the scale of big data, but is still affordable, and is designed to be used by people in the business world and not just statisticians.
Alpine Data Labs are a spin-off from Greenplum (just prior to the EMC acquisition of Greenplum last year). Their primary product, Alpine Miner, is a data mining and analytics platform meant to leverage the processing capabilities of MPP databases like Greenplum and Oracle's Exadata. Alpine is headquartered in San Mateo, California with a sizeable development shop in Beijing. They have over 15 early adopter customers in both the US and China, and already over 500 evaluation downloads have been taken, so there is a lot of interest and the company is showing very solid growth based on quality opportunities.
... The key to much of what Alpine delivers is that they are embedding the computation into the data, and not moving data to the tool. Alpine Miner is an analytics engine that connects directly to Greenplum, PostgreSQL and Exadata with offerings for Netezza and Hadoop on the roadmap. Alpine runs all of the transformations, calculations, and analytic processes directly within the database itself, thus eliminating the need to extract data out of the database and sending it off to another (smaller) analytic server for processing.