Michael Dell and friends are rocking Austin, Texas this week. The company best known for making “made to order” personal computers and servers has a boatload of well-established customers and the “freedom to be bold,” now that it a private company, said Michael Dell, the company’s founder and CEO.
When we hear the word Dell, the first words that come to mind are probably not big data, advanced analytics, machine learning or hybrid cloud.
But if you’re a business analyst who needs the powers of a data scientist, but doesn’t have immediate access to one … or an enterprise that wants to leverage big data and advanced analytics to improve customer relationships and such … Dell may be your ticket. We kid you not.
Easier, Faster, Cheaper
Dell actually owns a big data analytics suite known as Kitenga (via acquisition of Quest Software in 2012) that provides integrated information modeling and visualization capabilities in a big data search and business analytics platform. It combines technologies such as Hadoop for scalability and performance, Lucene/SOLR search, Mahout machine learning, 3D information modeling and advanced Natural Language Processing in a fully integrated, configurable, cloud-enabled software platform that can be deployed in short order.
Its insight engine, it should be noted, is engineered to deliver big data analytics, while eliminating complex and time-consuming manipulation of web-scale data resources. In other words, it’s easier, faster and cheaper to use than many of its competing solutions. Not only that, but it's accessible and offers mid-market companies the same brains and brawn that enterprises enjoy.
But that’s where Dell’s big data and analytics story might begin rather that end. Last spring the company also took ownership of StatSoft, a provider of predictive analytics and data analysis software. Dell has renamed it Statistica.
Today at Dell World, the company announced that it has integrated the two products and partnered with Microsoft to leverage Azure. As a result, Dell is making it easy for business analysts to connect to data stored in Hadoop and NoSQL databases and interact with it for sentiment analysis and such, according to John Thompson, general manager advanced analytics at Dell.
Michael Dell is hyped about big data and analytics and the capabilities that his company will bring to its customers.
“We're experts in understanding your outcomes and building an analytics engine to meet your needs,” he told the crowd during his Dell World Keynote. “We're innovating with partners that matter to you most: Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, VMware, Hadoop and Cloudera. We're providing the ramps to get off the aging, obsolete Unix platform and get onto x86 scale out, modern Linux seamlessly."
Dell also announced today that it has woven Kitenga and Statistica together and the end result could give everything else on the market a run for its money. It just may be one of the more powerful and accessible big data analytics solutions available.
Thompson explains that the solution is powerful because it can quickly analyze big data rather than a sample of data as most analytical solutions do. Data gets crunched in Kitenga and brought back for analysis in Statistica. The bonus here is that Statistica has 16,000 analytical options (as opposed to half of a dozen approaches and a pretty user interface) and “opens up a treasure chest of analytical routines.”
In addition to providing these solutions so that companies can leverage them on their own, Dell’s Digital Business Services (DBS, the company’s consulting arm) said that it’s ready to help clients assess their needs and create a plan to leverage digital technologies including analytics, mobile, social media and cloud, along with other emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things.
Thompson said DBS will leverage lessons learned and best practices from Dell’s analytics solutions, experience as a social media pioneer, acquisitions across cloud and business intelligence, deep partnerships and expertise in digital technologies and IP from across Dell’s end-to-end portfolio to help customers adapt their business processes and operating models to a take a digital-first approach.
Dell is also hooking up with Microsoft to provide customers with the ability to build an analytical environment for non-sensitive data in the cloud (Azure), crunch data there and to then bring it on premise where it can be mashed with sensitive data and then analyzed inside the firewall.
The Azure capability also enables bringing data from multiple locations together.
Big Data and Analytics at Dell?
We asked Thompson why Dell’s impressive big data and analytics capabilities weren’t the buzz at the big data conferences we attend.
While we won’t quote him directly, “just wait” was his answer.