IBM is the acquisition trail again despite disappointing results for Q1 released last week. The results fell around the European economy, not over IBM commercial strategy. The result is that it looks like it is to keep buying what it needs, this week’s Vivisimo acquisition being a case in point.

Typically, it has not released how much it is paying for Vivisimo, which means that it is probably relatively cheap in the IBM scale of things, as Big Blue has never been shy of releasing financial terms when those terms are likely to excite.

Big Data Navigation

That aside, why Vivisimo? Vivisimo feeds into the Big Data craze that is currently the IT world. While IBM has bought into many Big Data analytics companies before, this acquisition adds an essential piece into the equation, which, if it works out, should give IBM an edge in this area that many other companies are looking to acquire.

Vivisimo also does Big Data analytics, but it does Big Data analytics navigation, and this would seem to be a crucial point.

There is no point in having applications that can pull meaning out of petabytes of data, if that data can’t be navigated; if you can’t actually find what you are looking for, or more to the point, if the system can’t find the data it needs to analyze and provide meaning.

Vivisimo’s Big Data Navigation

And that is what Vivisimo does. Based in Pittsburgh, Vivisimo software captures quality information across the broadest range of data sources and repositories no matter what format it is in, or where it happens to be hiding.

It doesn’t just find it, though -- it automates the finding of data, giving uses one view of data across the enterprise, be that data structured or unstructured.

Ultimately, by automating that data search, it adds to IBM's goal of automating the flow of data into business analytics applications.

Vivisimo, IBM

So, in Homer-like mode, the idea seems to be that users will press a button, sit back with a bunch of doughnuts and wait for IBM analytics to pop out the answers you’re looking for from the easily findable information already floating around your system.

Navigating big data to uncover the right information is a key challenge for all industries…The winners in the era of big data will be those who unlock their information assets to drive innovation, make real-time decisions, and gain actionable insights to be more competitive,” said Arvind Krishna, general manager, Information Management, IBM Software Group.

This is clearly useful -- and here I’m aiming for the understatement of the month award. IBM estimates that there is 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day from a variety of sources including sensors, social media, and billions of mobile devices around the world.

The company that can find its way around that information is clearly the company with an edge. The company that sells those tools to navigate that information is likely to get a major cut of a market that IDC estimates will be worth US$ 16.9 billion by 2015.

Of course, Vivisimo also has a substantial customer base already, which won’t hurt, with companies such as Airbus, the US Air Force, Procter & Gamble and LexisNexis among others on its books.

IBM, Hadoop

Also announced at the same time and tucked away in the corner of the Vivisimo announcement is another announcement that should make keep the techies happy too.

We know that IBM's Big Data platform is based on open source Apache Hadoop. Well, IBM is expanding its big data platform to run on other distributions of Hadoop, beginning with Cloudera.

Cloudera has been consistent and one of the top contributors to the Hadoop development community and a provider of Hadoop-based systems to enterprises across many data-dependent verticals such as healthcare, financial and telecommunications.

The result is that Cloudera Hadoop clients can now take advantage of IBM's big data platform to perform complex analytics and build a new generation of software applications. More on this as it happens.