The Coolest System And Platform Companies Of The 2020 Big Data 100

Part 2 of CRN’s Big Data 100 looks at the vendors solution providers need to know in the systems and platforms space.

All Systems Go

Database software, business analysis applications, data science tools: They are all critical components of a complete big data initiative. Ultimately, however, all those components must run on hardware and software platforms – from hardware servers to cloud platforms – that pull all the pieces together and provide the horsepower to make it all perform.

As part of the 2020 Big Data 100, we’ve put together a list of major system and platform companies – from established vendors to those in startup mode – that solution providers should be aware of. They include the major computer system vendors like Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM that provide hardware and software for big data applications; cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Google and Snowflake that offer cloud-based big data services; and major software developers like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

This week, CRN is running the Big Data 100 list in a series of slideshows with vendors of business analytics software, database systems, data management and integration tools, data science and machine learning tools, and big data systems and platforms.

(Some vendors offer big data products that span multiple technology categories: They appear in the slideshow for the technology segment in which they are most prominent.)

Amazon Web Services

Top Executive: CEO Andy Jassy

AWS, the IT services operation of Internet goliath, provides the platform for many cloud-based big data services, from data management and data warehouses to big data processing and analytical applications.

In addition to hosting big data services for other vendors and clients, AWS offers many of its own cloud big data services such as the Redshift data warehouse, Kinesis streaming data, Glue data ETL (extract, transform and load), Aurora relational database engine, and Lake Formation data lake, among many others.


Top Executive: CEO Rob Bearden

Following its merger with chief big data platform rival Hortonworks in early 2019, Cloudera later in the year launched the Cloudera Data Platform that combines elements of both companies’ technologies. The system delivers self-service analytics across hybrid and multi-cloud environments with robust security and governance capabilities. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company touts the platform’s analytic capabilities “from the edge to AI.”

In November the company launched a new partner program, Cloudera Connect, that merges the Cloudera and Hortonworks channel operations.

Dell Technologies

Top Executive: CEO Michael Dell

Dell Technologies is best known for its server and storage systems, PCs and other hardware – all of which provide the computational horsepower and data storage capacity for a broad range of big data technologies. But Dell’s product portfolio goes beyond “big iron” infrastructure to include a broad range of systems that supports big data initiatives.

The company, for example, offers the Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Data Analytics, integrated systems designed for big data as a service, real-time data streaming and the Hadoop big data platform.

Google Cloud

Top Executive: CEO Thomas Kurian

Like AWS, the Google Cloud Platform hosts many big data projects for customers as well as Google’s own big data offerings. Those include the Big Query serverless data warehouse, Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner cloud databases, and Dataflow unified streaming and batch data processing.

In February, Google completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of business analytics software developer Looker Data Sciences, a move that expands its cloud data analytics service offerings.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Top Executive: Antonio Neri

HPE offers a broad range of high-performance computing and data storage infrastructure products to power big data systems. The company’s software portfolio includes BlueData for deploying big data analytics and machine learning environments, and the MapR Hadoop-based technology HPE acquired in August 2019 that boosts HPE’s Intelligent Data Platform capabilities.

The company also offers HPE Greenlake for Big Data, a complete consumption-based workload solution for Hadoop computing.

Hitachi Vantara

Top Executive: CEO Toshiaki Tokunaga

Hitachi Vantara provides systems for big data, cloud, Internet of Things and digital transformation. On the data management and analytics side the company’s product portfolio includes the Pentaho data integration and analytics platform and Lumada Data Services (including data catalog and data lake technology) for data management and discovery tasks.


Top Executive: CEO Arvind Krishna

In addition to server and storage hardware systems to support big data initiatives, IBM’s product lineup includes a broad range of software for big data management and analytics. Data analysis software offerings include SPSS Statistics and Cognos analytics, for example, while the Db2 database and InfoSphere Datastage provide data management and ETL capabilities.

IBM Watson, the company’s suite of artificial intelligence-based services, applications and tooling, is a major focus for the company in helping customers derive value from their data.

Micro Focus

Top Executive: CEO Stephen Murdoch

Enterprise software vendor Micro Focus offers predictive analytics software as part of its broader portfolio of products for digital transformation initiatives. They include the ArcSight big data platform, Vertica Advanced Analytics Platform, and Idol cognitive search and knowledge discovery system for AI-based text, speech and video analytics.

Micro Focus also provides security and IT operations analytics software.


Top Executive: CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft’s software lineup for big data applications ranges from the Azure cloud platform that powers many data management and analysis systems, to the ubiquitous SQL Server relational database and Power BI data analysis tool.

On the analytics side Azure-based offerings include Azure Data Explorer, Data Lake Analytics, Azure Stream Analytics, Power BI Embedded and the Hadoop-based HDInsight. On the data management side Microsoft provides the Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB multi-model database and the Azure Database Migration Service.


Top Executive: CEO Safra Catz

Oracle offers one of the most extensive big data management and analysis software lineups, led by the company’s flagship relational database product.

The Oracle Database (current release 19c with 20c in preview) remains the core of much of what Oracle does. Other data management offerings include the Autonomous Data Warehouse, the Exadata Cloud Service and the NoSQL Database Cloud Service.

Oracle’s data analytics software lineup includes the Oracle Analytics Server, Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle Analytics for Applications and the Essbase multidimensional database.


Top Executive: CEO Christian Klein

SAP is best known for its enterprise ERP, CRM and other operational applications. But the company provides an extensive lineup of big data management and analysis software to work with all the data generated by those applications.

The SAP HANA in-memory data platform is at the core of SAP’s data management offerings, along with tools for data intelligence and orchestration, master data management, information governance, and data quality and integration. On the business analytics side the company offers the BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite and the SAP Analytics Cloud.


Top Executive: CEO Frank Slootman

Despite competing with AWS, Microsoft and other cloud computing giants, Snowflake has enjoyed rapid growth with its cloud-based data warehouse. The company’s value proposition: It offers a way to quickly set up a data warehouse at lower cost compared to complex, expensive, on-premises data warehouses.

In February Snowflake began offering its data warehouse system on the Google Cloud Platform, in addition to already running on AWS and Microsoft Azure. Also in February, the company raised $479 million in funding, putting its market valuation at $12.4 billion


Top Executive: CEO Doug Merritt

Fast-growing Splunk has developed what it calls the “Data-to-Everything Platform,” a system that collects machine-generated data in real time and indexes it for data monitoring, search, analysis and visualization chores. The software is most frequently used for IT performance management and security (security information and event management) tasks, although it is also used for a wide range of business analytics and IoT applications.

In March, Splunk said that the U.S. Census Bureau is using the Splunk Cloud platform to connect census data from 35 operations and 52 systems ranging from cloud-based applications and data warehouses to field-deployed end-point devices. That will allow census managers to monitor, investigate, analyze and act on data in real-time.


Top Executive: Interim CEO Victor Lund

Teradata, founded in 1979, was a pioneer in early data warehouse technology and has remained a major vendor in the data warehouse arena. The company’s flagship Vantage system offers data warehouse, data lake and unified analytics capabilities in a single cloud platform.

Last October the company debuted a pair of standalone products: Vantage Analyst for data science and advanced analytics tasks and Vantage Customer Experience customer data analysis software.

Yellowbrick Data

Top Executive: CEO Neil Carson

Yellowbrick Data provides massively parallel data warehouse technology for hybrid cloud environments. The company was founded in 2014 by experts in flash memory and next-generation database technologies with the goal of simplifying data warehousing projects.

The Yellowbrick Data Warehouse is available as an on-premises appliance or a cloud service.

In February the company struck an alliance with MicroStrategy to integrate that company’s data analytics software with the Yellowbrick Data Warehouse.