Actian consolidates its analytics portfolio

Owner of ParAccel, Pervasive and VectorWise integrates its technologies and brands

It all started in 2005, when Computer Associates spun off its Ingres product (itself an acquisition) into the standalone Ingres Corporation.  In 2010, Ingres acquired Vectorwise, the company behind the follow-on to the groundbreaking MonetDB project.  After being 100% acquired by Garnett & Helfrich Capital in 2011, Ingres Corporation was renamed Actian Corporation.  Ingres then acquired object database vendor Versant in 2012, and acquired Pervasive Software and ParAccel -- within weeks of each other -- in 2013.

There's a lot of important database history and technology under the Actian roof.  On the flip-side, there's a bunch of different technology and branding, with the Actian name itself having thus far referred to a holding entity, in practical terms.

Come together, right now
Today, Actian is announcing some changes to address this cohesion deficit.  First, the ParAccel, Pervasive and Vectorwise technologies are being unified under the Actian Analytics Platform brand. Specifically, the ParAccel technology (which, as a reminder, underlies Amazon Redshift) is being re-branded Actian Matrix; Pervasive's technologies are rechristened Actian DataFlow and Actian DataConnect; and Vectorwise becomes Actian Vector.

The Ingres and Versant technologies, while remaining important drivers of Actian's revenue and customer base, will remain separate form the Actian Analytics Platform.  And given that these are operational database products, their segregation form an analytics platform is logical and reasonable.

With this move comes some important messaging. Actian is now "one company, with one voice and one platform" according to its John Santaferraro (who came to Actian with the ParAccel acquisition), VP of Marketing for the Actian Analytics Platform.  The company sees itself especially well-positioned to address what it calls "Big Data 2.0" -- essentially, the application of Big Data technology in mainstream, production scenarios.  And Santaferraro says the company is doing so with disruptive price/performance.

We're in the lineup
In other words, when it comes to enumerating the players in the MPP data warehouse and analytics spaces, Actian wants to be in your list, alongside Teradata, HP, Pivotal, SAP and others.  The company sees itself as offering a multifaceted platform, and not just an acquisition portfolio of separate offerings.

Actian says Evernote is using its platform to help predict when customers on its free tier will opt-in for a paid tier from the company.  Actian also says that Opera Solutions, the Jersey City, NJ data science firm, known for its industry-specific data "signal hubs," is banking heavily on the Actian Analytics Platform as well.  In all, Actian reports having more than 10,000 customers and says it's profitable with $140M in pro forma billings.

Healthy skepticism
Understanding how much of this integration is "marketechture" and how much is technologically substantiated will require further investigation.  Actian has promised me a deeper dive to facilitate some due diligence in that regard.  With a wicked smart CTO in Mike Hoskins (formerly of Pervasive Software), I'm looking forward to learning more from Actian, and ready to provide the benefit of the doubt.  Somewhat, at least.

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