Allowing enterprise to play

(Image: Stockfresh)

20 February 2015

I have often quoted a senior Google head who said that while the company respects its rivals in the market, what it fears is the next start-up.

This is based around the fact that what one industry speaker recently termed ‘upstarts’, or the start-up companies that are proving disruptive in the industry, are not constrained by the legacy infrastructures, procedures and practices of enterprise and so are agile and flexible and able to move in ways of which industry giants and established players can only dream.

Speaking to Michael Cucchi of Pivotal recently, he said that certain things characterise these upstarts such as the effective use of intelligence derived from big data, combined with extensive use of open source (OS) in non-traditional application stacks which has allowed these companies to succeed in disrupting the big guys. The roll call of these companies is all too familiar: Uber, AirBnB, Instacard etc.

But what can enterprise do, when they rely on the reliable, stable, governable systems and applications that their regulatory obligations, governance models and shareholder oversight committees require? Diving into what can often be seen as Wild West, ungoverned, unwieldy open source ecosystems is perceived as risky, especially at the scale required by most to be effective.

Well, the fact is that major vendors and service providers are coming to the same conclusion and putting resources into tackling the problem.

Pivotal has open sourced a large section of its suite of data management and analysis tools, making them more accessible and available, but still firmly aimed at enterprises and their specific requirements.

Dell too, with its approach to software defined storage based on open source and web scaling architectures but certified on its own hardware, is bringing the technologies used by the upstarts into line with the requirements of enterprise.

It seems that enterprises have been caught short with these fast moving, emerging technologies, seeing the benefits that they can bring to the upstarts agile enough to exploit them, but unable to leverage them themselves.

This is perhaps best illustrated by the Open Data Platform initiative, with the purpose of accelerating the ability of enterprises to build and implement data-driven applications. Members include GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Splunk, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Teradata, and VMware.

Despite the fact that proprietary big data crunching hardware appliances have been available for some time, some even incorporating OS tools such as Hadoop, it seems enterprise need more in terms flexibility and agility as seen with the upstarts.

With the vendors now concentrating on bringing those advantages to enterprise, within the kinds of provisos and parameters necessary, there may well be another revolution on the way that could bring about that analytics super nova I was wondering about last week.


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