Communicating with Vertica has been tricky recently. But HP is now announced to be buying Vertica, which pretty much forces me to comment about Vertica. So I’ll indulge in a little bit of explanation as to what I know about Vertica, whether for publication or under NDA. My analysis of the HP/Vertica combination, and expectations for same, will go into another post.
Vertica parted ways with marketing VP Dave Menninger in June. I started working with his successor, but despite seeming smart and energetic, she didn’t last long. Her successor didn’t even last long enough for me to meet him. And Vertica’s Colin Mahony, who was filling the gap, was a bit evasive.
I did have a recent NDA briefing with Vertica (Colin plus Shilpa Lawande). When I asked about announcements for this week (the TDWI conference is a common time for announcements), Colin told me there would be a few partnerships, and that one of them would go beyond Barney. I’ve got to give him credit for underselling on that score.
I asked Colin about Vertica’s stated figure of 328 customers by year-end 2010. He assured me that 250 or so were end-sale customers, with the rest being OEM sell-through. In all other ways I could think to ask about, Vertica’s stated customer count sounds clean — revenue recognized, not just for a paid POC, and so on.
By the way, Vertica has impressive market share among flashy internet companies, especially for an East Coast company — Twitter, Mozilla, a large fraction of the larger Facebook game vendors, and surely others that I’m forgetting as well.
Finally, let me point out that two other oddities go together, namely that:
- Vertica has positioned itself as an analytic platform company despite not obviously having the technology to back that up.
- Vertica went retro in its marketing with some Mike Stonebraker column-store architetural tub-thumping — and then removed the post a few days later when it came under fire.
Obviously — and I can also confirm both parts of this based on recent Vertica discussions — Vertica thinks it will soon have strong analytic platform technology, and doesn’t want to get mired in its “It’s Columnar!!!” marketing strategy of the past.
As for why that post ever went up in the first place — well, YOU try telling Mike Stonebraker not to say something that’s on his mind.
I do actually have quite a few details of product plans and customer success under NDA. I’ll think about what I can or can’t expose, and then perhaps write a more forward-looking HP/Vertica post.