Scale Computing, Information Builders Combine Forces To Offer Business Intelligence, Analytics Appliance

Hyper-converged infrastructure appliance developer Scale Computing and business analytics software developer Information Builders combined forces to offer a new appliance targeting the business intelligence requirements of small and midsize businesses.

The two companies unveiled the Scale Analytics business intelligence and analytics appliance at the Midsize Enterprise Summit (MES) West conference, being held this week in Austin, Texas. The two companies actually came together on the joint solution after meeting at a past MES.

MES is hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

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[Related: Scale Computing Targets Nutanix Xpress With New SMB Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Solution]

The Scale Analytics appliance is a joint offering combining Indianapolis, Ind.-based Scale Computing's HC3 hyper-converged infrastructure platform with New York-based Information Builders' software.

The software, called WebFocus Business User Edition, includes the company's business analytics solution, a portal for sharing information, a high-performance "sandbox" to let customers try different looks at the data to get different insight, and a scheduler, said Jake Freivald, vice president of marketing at Information Builders.

The software was designed to help businesses make reports and charts and provide interactive visualization, Freivald told CRN.

"It takes information from any number of sources and lets users -- who usually are not business analytics experts -- create their own charts and graphics and make them available to business users," Freivald said. "The Scale Computing hardware doesn't require a lot of IT support to maintain it, so it's easy to get the solution up and running without specialized personnel."

The Scale Computing platform includes SSDs to provide the performance needed to do multiple transformations on the data, said Jason Collier, co-founder and chief evangelist at the company.

It also provides the necessary disaster recovery, replication and scalability requirements, he said. The price includes one week of consulting, he said.

"We decided to build an appliance all as part of a package costing about $50,000," he said. "It's affordable, and great for the channel."

The bundled solution is available to channel partners of both companies, Collier said.

"If a Scale partner sees an opportunity in business intelligence, it can join the Information Builders reseller program to sell the Business User Edition, and vice versa," he said. "There's an easy path for each company's partners to join the other's channel program."

The two companies have separate deal registration programs but will work together to make sure the first partner to register a deal gets the appropriate benefits, Collier said. The two may also develop a joint deal registration program, he said.

Arun Gollapundi, CEO of Systech Solutions, a Glendale, Calif.-based solution provider and Information Builders channel partner, said he has found that vendor's business analytics platform a good match for the requirements of his company's education, government, lower-tier manufacturing and small-business clients.

Gollapundi told CRN that Systech works with a number of hardware platforms, including the business analytics solution from Netezza, which was acquired by IBM in 2010, and has not worked with Scale Computing before.

"We have spent some time with Scale, and we like what we see," he said. "We want to go to market with that platform."

Systech likes the bundled appliance approach to business analytics, Gollapundi said.

"Our business is not about configuring hardware and software," he said. "Our business is about what to do with data. I'm happy to deploy an appliance while focusing on how to analyze and report on the data. That's the core function for us. The sooner we get to that, the better."

Collier said Scale Computing and Information Builders met at a past MES conference where they started to explore the possibility of working together on a joint solution.

"At MES, Scale Computing always get the 'Best Hardware' award, while Information Builders gets the 'Best Software' award," he said. "We had this crazy idea: We have the best hardware, they have the best software. Why not get together?"