HP has been quietly shipping Neoview since last October to select customers, but officially launched the high-end platform at the company's [email protected] conference in Berlin. Customers of the new system include Bon-Ton Stores, a regional U.S. department store chain; and Bank of Baroda, an international bank in India.
For the operating system and database, HP is using NonStop, which was developed at Tandem Computers, which was acquired by Compaq. The latter company was subsequently bought by HP in 2002.
NonStop computers were popular among banks and stock exchanges for handling large transactional volumes with minimal downtime. The database management system, however, has been modified for data warehousing, which is about delivering data to workers seeking information, such as whether there are seats available on a particular airline flight, or a customer's vehicle preference based on age, income, and their geographic region. "This isn't a general-purpose database like IBM's or Oracle's, but has been optimized for data warehousing," Ben Barnes, VP and general manager of HP's Business Intelligence Group, told InformationWeek.
Data warehousing is a growing market as companies look to mine the vast amounts of sales, customer, and other data collected every day. Such information is useful in developing strategy and in helping workers make business decisions and serve customers. A survey of 479 companies last fall by market researcher IDC found that 18% expected to double their data centers within the next 12 months, while 42% expected to increase it by a quarter to a half.
Among HP's biggest competitors in the market will be IBM and NCR's Teradata, which Hurd ran before becoming chief executive of NCR. He left the company in 2005 to head HP. Teradata is the market leader in data warehousing, and will be in HP's crosshairs.
HP is going for the highest end of the market with Neoview, which starts at $645,000 for a 16-processor, 4-terabyte system, Barnes said. Pivotal to the platform are the consulting services HP is offering to help companies plan and build their data warehousing and business intelligence systems. HP added hundreds of consultants capable of handling the tasks through the acquisition last December of Knightsbridge Solutions Holdings.
HP doesn't plan to build or acquire business intelligence tools for Neoview, such as dashboards, analytics, and reports. Instead, that would be left up to partners, such as Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion Solutions, and MicroStrategy. Barnes, however, has said HP could decide to change that strategy in the future.
Neoview is one piece of Hurd's strategy to meet his revenue forecast. The company plans to boost revenue this fiscal year to between $98 billion and $99 billion. Last year, HP had $91.7 billion in revenue to become the world's largest technology company, edging out IBM, which had $91.4 billion in revenue.