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        Matt Aslett's Analyst Perspectives

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        Actian Accelerates Insight with Unified Cloud Data Platform

        As articulated in Ventana Research’s Data Platforms Buyer’s Guide and DataOps Buyer’s Guide research, the combination of cloud computing and advanced analytics has lowered the cost of storing and processing large volumes of data, accelerating the emergence of new data platform and data operations products that enable organizations to gain operational efficiency and competitive advantage. The right combination of data platform and data management products is essential to ensure that the right people have quick and easy access to the data required to make informed business decisions. 

        Traditional approaches to data processing rely on a complex and often brittle architecture based on multiple specialist products from multiple providers. Vendors such as Actian have taken steps to reduce the number of tools and platforms that need to be combined to generate insight from data via the development of unified data platforms. 

        Actian can trace its origins back to the early days of research into relational database technology and the development of its Ingres transactional database in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The company has been through multiple iterations and acquisitions over the years, most recently becoming the data and analytics products division of HCL Software in late 2021. HCL Software’s parent company, HCL Technologies, had previously acquired Actian via a joint venture with Sumeru Equity Partners in 2018 before taking full ownership in 2021 as part of its strategy to enhance its data management capabilities and expand its presence globally. 

        Prior to becoming part of the HCL family, Actian made multiple acquisitions to expand its product and technology portfolio. Key acquisitions included the addition of Vector, the company’s vectorized columnar database, which was acquired with VectorWise in 2010, and NoSQL Database, added with Versant in 2012. The following year, Actian added analytic database provider ParAccel as well as the Zen embedded database and data integration products with the purchase of Pervasive. Actian’s portfolio has also grown with the addition of HCL Informix, which HCL licensed from IBM in 2018, and its cloud-based successor, OneDB. The massively parallel processing analytic database capabilities Actian picked up with ParAccel are a key element of its Cloud Data Platform (previously known as Avalanche), which was recently relaunched to provide a consolidated platform for data integration, data processing and analytics, delivered as a cloud-based managed service. 

        To deliver insight from data, technology specialists need to manage not just the processing of data but also the integration of multiple products. This leads to time and energy spent on maintaining the connections between different technologies, especially as business requirements grow and evolve. The more connections data needs to pass through on its path from generation to business insight, the greater the potential for data to be lost, altered or corrupted as the environment scales to meet business demand, leading to data integrity concerns that decrease trust and delay decisions. 

        This issue is exacerbated by the increased use of multiple cloud providers as well as the ongoing use of on-premises infrastructure. I assert that by 2026, 8 in 10 enterprises will haveVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_DataIntel_Product_Investment_53_S data spread across multiple cloud providers and on-premises data centers, requiring investment in data management products that span multiple locations.  As such, there is a growing requirement for cloud-agnostic data platforms, both operational and analytic, that can support data processing across hybrid IT and multi-cloud environments. 

        Actian Data Platform is designed to alleviate these concerns by providing operational data processing, data integration, data preparation and analytic data processing in a single environment that can manage data across multiple clouds – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – as well as on-premises. The combined offering includes Actian’s capabilities for data integration — such as data ingestion, data transformation and data pipeline automation — along with the company’s operational databases and analytic databases. 

        Combining cloud-based operational and analytic data platforms with native data integration and transformation functionality provides a platform for accelerating insight by lowering theVentana_Research_Analytics_and_Data_Benchmark_Research_Most_Time_in_Analytics_Process_2023 two most time-consuming aspects of analytics. More than two-thirds (69%) of participants in Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research cite preparing data for analysis as consuming the most time in analytics initiatives, followed by reviewing data for quality issues (64%). It also potentially provides data leaders with confidence that they have a strategic platform to address a variety of use cases without complex integration of multiple products, facilitating self-service access to data and improving trust in data-driven applications. 

        Removing barriers that prevent or delay users from gaining access to data through data democratization initiatives is one of the core tenets of data-driven organizations, alongside data culture, data literacy and data curiosity. I recommend that all organizations that seek to deliver competitive advantage using data should evaluate Actian and explore the potential benefits of unified data platforms. Combining storage and processing with data ingestion, integration and transformation functionality has the potential to accelerate access to data and the realization of business insight. 


        Matt Aslett


        Matt Aslett
        Director of Research, Analytics and Data

        Matt Aslett leads the software research and advisory for Analytics and Data at Ventana Research, now part of ISG, covering software that improves the utilization and value of information. His focus areas of expertise and market coverage include analytics, data intelligence, data operations, data platforms, and streaming and events.


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