The IoT Connection: Cisco Moves to Buy Data Analytics Specialist ParStream
Cisco Systems Monday disclosed plans to acquire privately held ParStream, developer of a distributed, massively parallel processing columnar database that's designed to analyze and filter billions of records in sub-second time.
Also key to the acquisition is ParStream DB, its recently launched analytics platform purpose-built and optimized for the Internet of Things. One Cisco partner told CRN ParStream DB potentially could go head-to-head against Hewlett-Packard's Vertica analytics solution.
"HP is going to have to watch out what Cisco does with this [acquisition]," said one top solution provider who partners with both HP and Cisco and who asked not to be identified. "We're seeing some positive growth with HP [data and analytics] … but if it looks like Cisco -- and it's what [Cisco CEO] Chuck [Robbins] has been saying -- is pushing further and further into this market, HP might have to try to up its ante. … It's definitely an interesting play here for Cisco."
[Related: CRN's Mergers and Acquisitions News Page]
ParStream, with headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and development in Cologne, Germany, allows customers to compute and analyze large amounts of data at the edge in real time with minimal infrastructure and operating costs, complementing Cisco’s current data and analytics portfolio, said Rob Salvagno, vice president of Cisco's Corporate Business Development, in a blog post Monday.
"[ParStream] improves our ability to provide analytics at the edge of the network, where data is increasingly being generated and in huge volume," said Salvagno. "Analytics are at the heart of Cisco's strategy for a hyper-distributed intelligent infrastructure."
At Cisco's Global Editor Conference earlier this month, Robbins said IoT would be bigger than the first wave of the Internet. Cisco, he said, plans to win in this space by creating intelligent and secure IoT data platforms while building an ecosystem of partners for next-generation IoT apps and solutions.
"When you look at IoT, the thing we get the most from it is a large amount of data. Now the question is, 'What to do with it?’" said Matt Duncan, director of GDT Labs at General Datatech, a Cisco Gold partner ranked No. 45 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500. "We're seeing a huge amount of activity around data analytics; [the] hospitals and retailers we're talking to are really looking to take what they have today and expanding on it."
Duncan said he expects Cisco's hardware sales will get a boost from new data and analytics offerings.
"So from Cisco's perspective, it's now how do we direct them to the correct hardware -- which is Cisco -- and the correct infrastructure -- which is Cisco -- with all these other players with noise in the marketplace?" said Duncan. "One of the ways is to be the de facto person to come to for data virtualization because then why wouldn’t you deploy Cisco hardware on it?"
For their part, solution providers said they have been looking at enhancing current data and analytics practices or in some cases creating them -- including hiring data scientists.
"We've talked about the market needs for data scientist. We're not there yet, but it certainly is the road map of the future," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "Our customers have a lot of data and want to start deriving more value from that data, and we'll be leaning on Cisco and its expertise as we enter those markets."
Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Cisco, San Jose, Calif., said it plans to close the deal in its second fiscal quarter. ParStream's team will be integrated into Cisco's analytics and automation portfolio and join its Data and Analytics Group.
ParStream was part of Cisco’s Entrepreneurs in Resident startup program that seeks to build strategic relationships with early stage technology entrepreneurs. CEO Peter Jensen said in a statement that although the company's day-to-day business operations will continue as usual, ParStream will "shift into overdrive" in the coming weeks.
"We’ll be empowered by Cisco to innovate in new ways," said Jensen. "We see a bright future ahead and look forward to working with Cisco to continue to deliver industry-leading IoT analytics solutions."
PUBLISHED OCT. 26, 2015