EMC To Acquire Greenplum In Data Warehousing, Cloud Play

EMC plans to acquire data warehouse technology provider Greenplum and use its technology to form a new data computing product division, a move that could find EMC competing with offerings from its other technology partners.

EMC on Tuesday said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire San Mateo, Calif.-based Greenplum in an all-cash transaction for an undisclosed sum.

Greenplum is the developer of what it calls "Enterprise Data Cloud" solutions for large-scale data warehousing and analytics. Those solutions, based on a massively parallel processing system, support the data warehousing and large scale analytic processing requirements of companies managing terabytes or petabytes of data.

Greenplum counts among its customers such companies NASDAQ OMX, NYSE Euronext, Reliance Communications, Skype, and Fox Interactive Media/MySpace.

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Once the acquisition closes, as is expected sometime during the third quarter of this year, Greenplum will form the foundation of a new data computing product division within EMC's Information Infrastructure business.

For EMC, the acquisition of Greenplum represents an opportunity to expand its cloud business.

Greenplum on its Website said that a "cloud" of databases will be the foundation of the next generation of database technology as enterprises grow to thousands of users and thousands of different use cases.

Under the company's Enterprise Data Cloud initiative, Greenplum expects customers will look to virtualize the analytic infrastructure of a database over a pool of resources in order to provide a self-service way for users to develop and deploy their own database instances without affecting other users.

Pat Gelsinger, president and COO for EMC Information Infrastructure Products, said in a statement that Greenplum’s massively-parallel, scale-out architecture, along with its self-service consumption model, has made it a leader in the data warehouse industry's shift toward ’big data’ analytics.

"Greenplum’s market-leading technology combined with EMC’s virtualized Private Cloud infrastructure provides customers, today, with a best-of-breed solution for tomorrow’s ’big-data’ challenges,’ Gelsinger said.

Next: New Acquisition, New Market, New Competition For EMC

By acquiring Greenplum, EMC not only enters a new industry, but faces a new set of potential competitors, including Teradata, business intelligence appliance vendors like Netezza, and large vendors such as IBM and Oracle who sell hardware and software for business intelligence and data warehouse applications, both as pre-packaged systems and individual components. Another potential competitor is data warehouse technology provider SAP, which is in the process of acquiring Sybase.

While EMC plans to make Greenplum the foundation of a new data computing product division, the company has not discussed whether it will develop or acquire other technologies to fill out its offering.

The acquisition of Greenplum is not the first time EMC has branched out from its core storage and data management business. And, in most cases, the acquisitions have been of vendors who had leading positions in their respective markets and which subsequently made EMC the new market leader.

EMC got into the security business in 2006 with the $2.1 billion acquisition of the leading security vendor, RSA.

The company in 2003 also moved into enterprise content management with its $1.7 billion acquisition of Documentum, the leading vendor in that market.

EMC in 2004 acquired leading server virtualization vendor VMware for $625 million.

EMC did not respond to requests for more information.

Rick Whiting contributed to this article.