Actian adds a high-scale distributed database to a portfolio that already includes Vectorwise, Ingres, Pervasive and Versant.

Doug Henschen, Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

April 25, 2013

3 Min Read

Actian announced Thursday that it has acquired ParAccel, the company that offers the massively parallel processing (MPP) database of the same name. The deal fills a gap in a portfolio that already includes the Vectorwise high-speed analytical database, which is limited to single-server SMP deployments.

Where the sweet spot for Vectorwise is up to 50 terabytes, ParAccel's MPP architecture lets it scale out in distributed fashion on tens, hundreds or even thousands of commodity servers. "Customers have a broad range of big data requirements, and if you're starting at 100 terabytes or 200 terabytes and saw that you were going to get there, it was difficult for us to meet that need," Actian CEO Steve Shine told InformationWeek.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Shine said Actian has purchased 100% of the company, buying the combined interests of investors including Amazon, MDV, Bay Partners, Walden International, Tao Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures that had pumped $64 million into ParAccel since its founding in 2007. Amazon led the most recent, $20 million round in 2012, and that deal lead to the subsequent launch of the Amazon Redshift service, which is based on the ParAccel database.

[ Want to learn more on ParAccel's future? Read Amazon Redshift Leaves On-Premises Opening, Says ParAccel. ]

Amazon will continue to use the ParAccel database, according to Shine, but that does not mean Actian won't find its own ways to offer ParAccel database services in the cloud.

"I believe that Amazon will be very successful with Redshift, but there are some customers that will look for other flavors of cloud-based services," Shine explained. "The most obvious example is large enterprises, which might have very specialized service-level agreements that are a better fit with our business model than the Amazon model, which has to fit a much broader scope of needs."

Actian recently bolstered its cloud capabilities with the $162 million February purchase of Pervasive Software, which had been pushing its data-integration software into the cloud-computing and big data markets through its Data Cloud and DataRush platforms.

"People are starting to wake up to the fact that machine-based and sensor-based data is going to be the real wave of big data," Shine said. "That data has to get connected somehow, and that's going to happen in the cloud, which Pervasive has its elastic Data Cloud for data integration."

Where today most deployments are on-premises for all of Actian's databases, which also include the Ingres transactional database, Shine said the future will see massive scale in the cloud, and that will necessitate ParAccel.

The competition for Actian and ParAccel includes Oracle with Exadata, IBM with PureData systems based on the Netezza Database, Pivotal with the Greenplum database (formerly offered by parent company EMC), and HP Vertica -- all companies with a hardware angle on database deployments. Shine said Actian and its customers prefer a software-only approach that's not tied to "proprietary" hardware.

All of these databases run on X86 servers, though there are many nuances in networking, storage schemes and processing approaches used with the same or similar hardware components.

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About the Author(s)

Doug Henschen

Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of Transform Magazine, and Executive Editor at DM News. He has covered IT and data-driven marketing for more than 15 years.

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