Vertica quietly announced an appliance bundling deal with HP and Red Hat today. That got me quickly onto the phone with Vertica’s Andy Ellicott, to discuss a few different subjects. Most interesting was the part about Vertica’s customer base, highlights of which included:
- Vertica’s claim to have “50” customers includes a bunch of unpaid licenses, many of them in academia.
- Vertica has about 15 paying customers.
- Based on conversations with mutual prospects, Vertica believes that’s more customers than DATAllegro has. (Of course, each DATAllegro sale is bigger than one of Vertica’s. Even so, I hope Vertica is wrong in its estimate, since DATAllegro told me its customer count was “double digit” quite a while ago.)
- Most Vertica customers manage over 1 terabyte of user data. A couple have bought licenses showing they intend to manage 20 terabytes or so.
- Vertica’s biggest customer/application category – existing customers and sales pipelines alike – is call detail records for telecommunications companies. (Other data warehouse specialists also have activity in the CDR area.). Major applications are billing assurance (getting the inter-carrier charges right) and marketing analysis. Call center uses are still in the future.
- Vertica’s other big market to date is investment research/tick history. Surely not coincidentally, this is a big area of focus for Mike Stonebraker, evidently at both companies for which he’s CTO. (The other, of course, is StreamBase.)
- Runners-up in market activity are clickstream analysis and general consumer analytics. These seem to be present in Vertica’s pipeline more than in the actual customer base.
- Fraud detection comes up as a specific application in multiple customer segments.
- RDF isn’t a big deal for Vertica yet. However, Vertica does have some RDF pilot projects in the biological research area.
- A lot of Vertica customers use Business Objects and/or Informatica. And as part of QA, Vertica’s product is tested against other major business intelligence tools as well.
As for the HP/Vertica appliance deal:
- Here’s the link to Vertica’s database appliance product page. Note that it mentions 10 terabytes of user data as a representative case.
- Vertica reports that a significant minority of its customers/prospects wanted an appliance alternative.
- HP now has what it surely perceives as a high-end/low-end pair of offerings – Neoview and Vertica. Similarly, Sun has what it perceives as a similar pair – Greenplum and ParAccel. Of course, neither Vertica nor ParAccel would wholly endorse that “low-end” positioning, but they’re glad to have the big-company partnerships even so.
Edit: For more on the data warehouse appliance market overall, please see this December, 2007 post on data warehouse appliance fact and fiction.