, FEBRUARY 19, 2007
 (STAR) By Eden Estopace - The growing focus on enterprise technology has been on a steady march since the Internet boom of the late ’90s. Notwithstanding the so-called dotcom bubble a few years back, the world is more wired now than ever and is accumulating data and information faster than technology and enterprises could cope.

In this fully wired global business landscape, data is gold and information is the currency that is traded by top-tier firms to gain a competitive edge.

Making sense of the volume of information that is generated everyday by both large and small firms, especially those in the services sector such as banks, telecom companies, airlines, and conglomerates, is viewed as the next growth wave.

Take the case of Smart Communications Inc., which has to manage, store and analyze data from 22 million subscribers, generating an average of 700 million text messages a day. Even with the most advanced software for storage, data analysis and transaction processing, the sheer amount of work involved in making sense of this data gold mine is simply too much to handle.

A new killer application is urgently needed, because as the new mantra in business today goes: Managing the backroom is as crucial as manning the frontlines.

A breakthrough solution, called the Sun Data Warehouse Appliance, was introduced in the Philippines by a San Mateo, California-based technology company called Greenplum, in partnership with Sun Microsystems, to address this burgeoning need of enterprises.

The new product combines the Greenplum open source database software and the Sun Fire X4500 data server, powered by dual-core Opteron processors and Solaris 10 OS, and PostgreSQL.

It is initially available in configurations that deliver database capacity of up to 100 terabytes of data, and is expected to benefit industries like telecommunications, financial services, retail and Internet services.

In a press luncheon, Greenplum president Scott Yara explained that their innovative solution can analyze hundreds of terabytes of business data much faster and more cost-effectively than virtually any traditional warehousing solution in the market today.

By cost-effectiveness, he means the Greenplum-Sun solution cost only $25,000 per terabyte of data as compared to the present rates of up to a million dollars.

The problem with the traditional database warehousing solution, even if you bring down the cost at parallel levels, is that it cannot scale up to demands of large-scale analytics, he said.

Another advantage it that it is powered by software built on open source technology. The advantage of open source, as the IT industry knows, is that because the source code is available to the public, the best minds in the industry contribute to its development and innovation and improvement continues through large-scale collaboration.

Greenplum sponsors the Bizgres project, a community effort to develop the PostgreSQL, an open source database for warehousing and business intelligence. The Greenplum database software is a massively parallel distribution of PostgreSQL.

Yara disclosed that his company had built the application over a period of three years, bringing together technical pioneers in database management systems and business intelligence and with a $30-million investment from top-tier investors.

In 2006, when Greenplum introduced its open source database software, it was named as one of the Top Open Source Company to Watch by Red Herring magazine and received industry awards at the LinuxWorld Conference.

In August of the same year, it partnered with Sun Microsystems for the development of the first appliance that would run on the Greenplum database application.

Yara said the demand for high-speed business intelligence is very robust in the Asia-Pacific region, and it is where the company is focusing its sights right now.

Incidentally, the first user of the Greenplum-Sun product collaboration is Smart Communications and the Philippines would pioneer the use of the breakthrough solution.

"We are constantly looking for ways to better understand our customers so that we can support our subscribers’ varying needs and roll out new compelling services," Alexander Seminiano, department head of Smart Communications’ Convergent Platforms Group, said in a statement.

As Greenplum and Sun’s first customer in the Asia-Pacific region, Smart also hopes to translate its investment in high-speed business intelligence to better customer service.

On the customer side, Yara explained that if someone calls the telecom carrier to report, for example, a lost phone and to inquire if there are fraudulent calls made from the cellphone, the company should be able to provide the answers in a matter of seconds, not minutes, hours or even days.

"Leveraging the massive amounts of information that wireless carriers generate has been the holy grail to delivering the next generation of compelling value-added services," Bill Cook, CEO of Greenplum, said in a statement.

Yara said that with a big base of potential customers in the Asia-Pacific, the company is equally aggressive in its move in the region. In fact, Greeplum recently established its regional headquarters in Singapore with Vinay Samuel as its general manager for the Asia-Pacific region.

Samuel, according to a statement, brings to the company more than 15 years of experience in information management and data warehousing.

"Samuel helped introduce many new data-driven technologies such as Analytical CRM, Six Sigma Data Quality, E-Channels, Enterprise Data Warehousing, and Business Process Management, into large banks, retailers, telecom companies and government customers across the Asia-Pacific region," the statement said.

And if you are wondering, Greenplum was named after a fruit. As such, the Sun Data Warehouse Appliance was the fruit of its collaboration.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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