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HP's data warehouse dandy comes out of the closet

CEO and CIO gang up on Teradata

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HP's homegrown attack against Teradata and IBM has appeared in its full glory. Customers of large sizes can now purchase the Matrix-sounding Neoview “data warehouse platform.”

Don't let the jargon fool you. The data warehouse play simply combines some of HP's own software with its Itanium-based Integrity servers and NonStop boxes acquired through the purchase of Compaq (Tandem). The software/hardware pairing lets customers monitor a wide variety of detailed information often related to their goods produced, sold and purchased. Such technology doesn't come cheap, making large businesses the most interested in Neoview-like kit.

The Register broke the Neoview back story last November after discovering the technology on HP's website. The company refused to say much about Neoview at the time, other than to confirm that a few customers were trying it out.

Neoview proves particularly interesting given the background of HP's CEO Mark Hurd and its CIO Randy Mott. Hurd used to run NCR's Teradata division – seen as the leader in the data warehouse game, and Mott proved one of Hurd's largest customers when he ran the IT organizations of Wal-Mart and then Dell.

Now HP wants to horn in on Teradata's turf and give competitive product from IBM a go as well.

Who's the first major Neoview customer? HP, of course.

“We are implementing it internally,” said Deborah Nelson, a SVP at HP.

HP also revealed India's Bank of Baroda and retailer Bon-Ton Stores as customers.

The Neoview technology relies on a wide range of HP products. The company recommends that its Itanium-based rx2620 servers work as the main query and database processing centers. Customers will require anywhere from 8 to 128 servers, according to HP.

On the back end, the Itanium kit connects to StorageWorks Fibre Channel arrays and some x86-based ProLiant boxes that host the Neoview Loader software.

How much does all this magic cost?

“There's a range of pricing,” Nelson said.

We thought so.

You're welcome to view HP's whole Neoview pitch here.

Wal-Mart has long heralded its Teradata-based data warehouse as some kind of secret sauce that makes sure China starts cranking out more coffee makers the minute supply runs low in Topeka. Dell tells a similar story.

Teradata's success has prompted NCR to spin out the division as a separate company.

IBM has enjoyed decent data warehousing sales as well.

HP's full-fledged entry into the data warehousing game was inevitable given Hurd and Mott's experience with the technology. The vendor has the hardware and services needed to make serious margins off the large customers that have interest in this type of thing. The big boys know that.

We, however, remain curious about HP's software here. Nelson reckons that HP coders have been hammering away on the Neoview applications for years. That said, it's the software piece that remains untested in the market just yet. ®

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