HP Exec: We're Investing $1 Billion In Big Data This Year


Hewlett-Packard has vowed to increase its overall R&D investment as part of its recovery plan, and big data software is one area that's going to receive a significant boost.

HP is planning to spend in the neighborhood of $1 billion this year on R&D and marketing for its big data software portfolio, HP Software chief George Kadifa told CRN in an interview prior to HP's Global Partner Conference last month.

Around $800 million of that figure is earmarked for Vertica and Autonomy, with the remainder going to joint projects between HP Software and the storage team in HP's Enterprise Group, according to Kadifa.

"We believe that’s a huge number, especially compared to our competition in the marketplace," Kadifa told CRN. "That’s in addition to the $11 billion we spent on [acquiring] Autonomy and Vertica."

[Related: Can Big Data Actually Be The Thing That Saves HP?]

HP's goal is to turn Autonomy and Vertica into platforms, and it is currently looking for OEM partners to broaden their reach, Kadifa said.

In addition to IDOL, the unstructured search technology that was the centerpiece of HP's $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy, HP also sees promise in Aurasma, the "augmented reality" technology Autonomy was using for mobile marketing in the U.K prior to the deal.

"It's a tremendous technology and we think it has very significant potential," Kadifa said of Aurasma, adding that HP is looking to work with third-party digital marketing agencies to broaden its scope.

HP is seeing growing momentum in its Vertica business, which tripled in size last year and now has more than 10 times the revenue it had when HP acquired it in March 2011, Kadifa said.

Vertica has the potential to become a billion-dollar business, but in the near term, HP is not expecting the unit to match the same level of profitability as the rest of its software unit, Kadifa said.

"I see Vertica as the next engine for online analytics. We are building it as a platform, and want to partner with OEMs to broaden the platform," he said.

HP rolled out a certification program for Vertica in January and Kadifa said early interest has been strong. "We announced the Vertica certification because we want third parties to learn it, to be proficient with it, to get that going so we can turn it into a very broad platform," he said.

Though Vertica has seen a significant number of employees depart since the acquisition, Kadifa says the attrition rate is well within the normal range and does not pose a threat to HP's goals for the group.

"We have no issues having great people and keeping them at HP," Kadifa said. "We have a great environment, and the Vertica business is doing very well. The funding is very significant, and people want to succeed and fulfill their professional aspirations there."

HP's big data strategy doesn't hinge only on Vertica and Autonomy. At its annual industry analyst summit this week in Boston, HP is showing off its SL4500 ProLiant server, which is built specifically for big data apps, and AppSystem for Apache Hadoop, an appliance designed to simplify setup, provisioning and deployment of Hadoop clusters.

PUBLISHED MARCH 6, 2013