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HP acquired U.K.-based Autonomy about six months after its Vertica purchase, and then tried merging the groups in November of that year. But to say that marriage got off to a rough start would be an understatement. Problems arose almost immediately last November after HP combined the two companies to create its new Information Management division, led by Autonomy co-founder and former CEO Mike Lynch.
HP went out to customers and partners with what it considered to be an unbeatable big data story. HP sales reps championed the combination of Autonomy's "unstructured" search and analytics technology and Vertica's high-performance columnar database as something no other vendor could match.
Despite the never-ending drama surrounding the company, HP is still citing the Autonomy-Vertica combination as a competitive advantage. "HP is the only company that can process 100 percent of information, whether it be structured, semi-structured or unstructured data," an HP spokesperson said in an email. But at least one HP partner who bought into the vision early on is disillusioned with the direction of HP's big data strategy and has chosen to work with other vendors.
"HP's early marketing spin was that with Autonomy and Vertica, we could go into accounts and pitch both. That sounded good, and we did buy into it initially," said the partner, who requested anonymity. As has often been the case at HP over the years, the initial failure of the Autonomy-Vertica marriage wasn't due to technology shortcomings, but the sort of endemic internal political friction that has plagued the company for years. Early on, Autonomy's Lynch made it clear that Autonomy would be getting the lion's share of attention in the Information Management unit.
According to sources who attended the Information Management group's first meeting, Lynch's adversarial tone came as a shock to the Vertica team and set the stage for what would end up being a brief yet tense relationship.
"When Lynch spoke to the Vertica group for the first time, he said, 'You guys are structured data, and 80 percent of the world is unstructured data, so we're going to divert 80 percent of this group's resources to Autonomy,' " said one source, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the matter.
Lynch insisted on personally reviewing the resume of every Vertica job candidate prior to their being hired, and his slow response ended up foiling the Vertica team's effort to hire an intern for the following summer, another source told CRN.