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4/25/2007
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HP Looks To Neoview For Gains In Data Warehousing

The company is combining its NonStop database engine with its Integrity and ProLiant servers and its StorageWorks hardware and software.

Hewlett-Packard's major push into business intelligence this week with the official launch of Neoview, a high-end data warehousing system, is key to the company's future growth. The biggest obstacle ahead is convincing thousands of businesses to choose HP's system over existing competition, according to industry experts.

Neoview is based on a mature database engine called NonStop, and it integrates HP's Integrity and ProLiant servers with its StorageWorks hardware and software.

"[NonStop] is unmatched in the increasingly important area of data availability," said Richard Winter of consulting firm WinterCorp, in an interview. Neoview is essentially an all-in-one offering from HP that combines hardware, software, and services. "I believe it stands a good chance of carving out a substantial piece of the data warehouse market," Winter added.

Beyond Neoview, HP CEO Mark Hurd has a strategy to meet the company's revenue forecast, which includes increasing revenue this fiscal year to between $98 billion and $99 billion. "He is going to put a lot behind that: resources, products, services, acquisitions, and CEO commitment," said Winter. Hurd already made key hires that include Ben Barnes, an industry veteran with 15 years of business intelligence experience, and Randy Mott, a former CIO at Dell.

Additionally, HP added hundreds of consultants to help companies plan and build their data warehousing and business intelligence systems with the acquisition of Knightsbridge Solutions Holdings last December. The services will play a key role in HP's strategy.

But HP will face fierce competition from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and NCR's Teradata, who lead billion-dollar businesses in data warehousing and business intelligence, and have a huge installed base of users. "This is a big market with big, muscular players already in place. And there are half a dozen startup companies entering with data warehouse appliances," said Winter.

Since many businesses already have some kind of data warehousing program in place with existing databases, infrastructure, and practices, HP will need to persuade hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses to change their data warehousing roadmaps, Winter said.

HP could find a receptive audience among those companies that have spent money on business intelligence and haven't seen a lot of value.

"These less satisfied business intelligence users may be interested in hearing from whoever can show them an approach to data warehousing that works well and offers a good return on their investment," said Winter. "[HP] has a lot to prove. But I think they have the resources, the will, and the leadership to do it."

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