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Data Integration in the Cloud Key to Capitalizing on Big Data

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Actian’s acquisition of Pervasive Software is the latest example of the accelerating convergence of two of the most prominent trends in the industry — Big Data and the cloud. But, more importantly, the merger of the two companies illustrates that data integration is the linchpin to capitalizing on Big Data via a new generation of cloud-based analytics solutions.

Actian Corporation has been moving aggressively to leverage its long history and vast installed base of loyal customers to become a leader in next-generation Big Data management solutions. In addition to its legacy Ingres systems for mission-critical OLTP databases, the company’s Vectorwise analytical database solutions have gained plenty of attention and a growing customer base.

But company executives have recognized that Actian’s continued growth opportunities are contingent on the ability of its customers to pull together a widening array of data sources to meet their business objectives. Data integration is now the primary obstacle to capitalizing on Big Data. Although there are many data integration tools in the market, finding the right portfolio of capabilities to address the increasingly complex requirements of an increasingly demanding marketplace is difficult.

Actian found what it was looking for in Pervasive Software Inc., based in Austin, TX. Pervasive has a broad set of data integration and quality products and services being used by many global enterprises, like ADP and FedEx, as well as a growing number of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies like Salesforce.com and Intuit. And all of Pervasive’s customers have a common desire to connect their data sources together so they can analyze and act on the information to make better business decisions. It is a classic Big Data objective.

I had an opportunity to chat with Actian’s CEO, Steve Shine, at the Pervasive/Actian IntegrationWorld 2013 conference [Disclosure: the company paid my way to the event] and asked him what one thing led to the decision to acquire Pervasive. His immediate response was Pervasive’s overall data integration capabilities and DataCloud capabilities in particular. He said that Actian’s customers and prospects are increasingly asking for cloud-based alternatives to address their Big Data challenges and Pervasive’s approach fits their needs well.

The acquisition brings together complementary technical capabilities, which will appeal to customers that are increasingly seeking strategic sources to satisfy their corporate requirements. Rather than acquire database and data integration from different vendors, customers want to obtain both from a single source. DataCloud gives them a more flexible and economical option to meet their data integration needs.

The transaction also makes sense from Actian’s and Pervasive’s perspectives. It gives Pervasive a stronger presence in Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the cloud movement and gives Actian access to a new pool of talent in Austin, TX. The combined entity gives the company greater scale and global reach. It now boasts over 10,000 customers worldwide and offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Melbourne, as well as across the United States.

The track record of success for mergers and acquisitions is notoriously low across the technology and software industry, but the Actian/Pervasive makes sense on multiple levels. And the corporate executive customers and partners I talked to at their first joint event were uniformly optimistic about their shared opportunities.

Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies, founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace and host of theCloud Innovators Summit conference series, including the Cloud Analytics Summit on May 2 in NYC. He can be reached at jkaplan@thinkstrategies.com.

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