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Data warehouse market reacts to the death of HP Neoview

Mark Brunelli, News Director

The death of the HP Neoview data warehouse appliance is generating reactions that range from sympathetic to scathing -- but nobody seems very surprised.

HP officials revealed Monday that it had taken Neoview off the market after four years of disappointing sales. The hardware giant now plans to focus on offering data warehouse appliances through partnerships with software vendors like Microsoft, but will continue to support HP Neoview users through 2014.

Data warehouse appliance technology combines hardware and software to provide a central repository for data that can be searched and analyzed for things like business intelligence (BI) reports and financial forecasts.

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Predictably, the most sympathetic responses to the end of HP Neoview came from software vendors like SAP, which have major partnership deals with HP. But companies like IBM-Netezza, which compete head-to-head with HP on the data warehouse appliance front, had significantly more to say about Neoview.

“I want to say this nicely, but I’m frankly just not surprised,” said Jim Baum, general manager of IBM-Netezza. “Neoview had not been a wildly successful, or perhaps even successful, product in the market. From our own experience, competing in the marketplace, we didn’t encounter them that often, and when we did the competitive dynamic tended to be strongly in our favor.”

SAP’s response, meanwhile, focused entirely on the partnership between the two companies and didn’t mention Neoview at all.

"SAP and HP have a long and successful partnership in helping our customers overcome data management and governance challenges,” Sanjay Poonen, SAP’s president of global solutions and go-to-market, said in a prepared statement. “SAP continues its alliance with HP with the recent introduction of the SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance, which represents the next generation of modern in-memory computing and provides organizations with real time analysis and unprecedented levels of performance.”

But perhaps the most biting response to the termination of Neoview came from Shawn Rogers, vice president of research, BI analyst and blogger with Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates Inc. He believes the Neoview fiasco stemmed from a failure on the part of HP to convey a compelling BI strategy to customers.

“I started in this industry back in the mid 90’s and I don’t think I have witnessed another meltdown quite like HP’s business intelligence group,” Rogers wrote in a Wednesday blog post. “It’s not uncommon for companies to test a market but seldom do we see companies waste the money and time that HP has on BI and its Neoview product.”

Other IT industry analysts were also unsurprised by the Neoview news. James Kobielus, a BI and data warehouse technology analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., called the decision to cut Neoview long overdue. The Neoview product was not engineered poorly, Kobielus said, but it was overpriced and not marketed very well.

“HP customers generally have decided that HP will not be their primary data warehousing company,” he said. “Most customers will use HP for hardware, the underlying servers and storage and interconnects for a data warehouse. But the database and the query tools and the loading tools and all the other stuff that make a data warehouse, [they’ll] source that from Microsoft or whoever.”

Exit strategy advice for HP Neoview users

Existing HP Neoview users have three years to find a replacement, but experts suggest they start planning an exit strategy soon -- and IBM-Netezza’s Baum had some advice for anyone evaluating alternative data warehouse appliance vendors.

“I would insist on a bake-off,” Baum said. “Bring [the data warehouse appliance] in and force the vendor to prove it. Force them to show it in the customer’s own environment with the customer’s own data.”


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