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        Matt Aslett's Analyst Perspectives

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        Actian Manages Avalanches of Data

        In their pursuit to be data-driven, organizations are collecting and managing more data than ever before as they attempt to gain competitive advantage and respond faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. As data is increasingly spread across multiple data centers, clouds and regions, organizations need to manage data on multiple systems in different locations and bring it together for analysis. As the data volumes increase and more data sources and data types are introduced in the organization, it creates challenges to storing, managing, connecting and analyzing the huge set of information that is spread across multiple locations. Having a strong foundation and scalable data management architecture in place can help alleviate many of the challenges organizations face when they are scaling and adding more infrastructure. We have written about the potential for hybrid and multi-cloud platforms to safeguard data across heterogenous environments, which plays to the strengths of companies, such as Actian, that provide a single environment with the ability to integrate, manage and process data across multiple locations.

        Actian is a data management software company that offers data management, data integration, and cloud data platforms and analytics. It enables organizations to connect, manage, transform and analyze big data. 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 many changes over the years. Having been founded as Relational Technology Inc, it passed through multiple acquisitions before becoming Ingres Corp in 2005 and then Actian in 2011. Throughout these many changes it has retained a loyal customer base and set of products and services based on mature and proven functionality. The company adopted the name Actian shortly before embarking on an acquisition spree that saw it snap up multiple assets including analytic databases (ParAccel and VectorWise), data management and data-integration technology (Pervasive), and object databases (Versant).

        More recently, Actian has been the target of acquisition activity. Having been acquired by a combination of HCL Technologies (HCL) and Sumeru Equity Partners in 2018, Actian became wholly owned by HCL in late 2021 as part of the IT-consulting-and-services company’sVR_2022_Data_Assertion_9_Square (5)-png-1 strategy to enhance its data management capabilities and expand its presence globally. This acquisition demonstrates the maturity and stability of the Actian platform, with Actian now effectively the data and analytics division of HCL Software, a subsidiary of HCL Technologies. Actian targets a range of industries including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications. Its portfolio includes the Avalanche Cloud Data Platform, as well as DataConnect and DataFlow for data integration platform, the Zen family of databases for data processing and management at the edge, and a variety of transactional databases (including Actian X, Actian NoSQL and OpenEdge). While the company continues to make these offerings available for on-premises deployment, Actian customers are increasingly choosing to consume them as cloud managed services. I assert that through 2025, 7 in ten organizations will migrate on-premises workloads to cloud data platforms, shifting focus to solving business needs rather than maintaining systems.

        Actian Avalanche Cloud Data Platform enables organizations to ingest, transform, analyze and store data. The platform can be deployed in public cloud, hybrid or on-premises environments. The roots of the Actian Avalanche platform can be traced to Ingres, as well as Pervasive, Versant and ParAccel. The platform is built on the cloud offering around its proven tech with a new cloud native architecture, that enables them provide hybrid capabilities for data management and integration. The platform is powered by its patented, vectorized database engine that has built-in integrations to 100+ data sources. The offering is available on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud as a fully managed service. Having a single environment for data integration, management, processing and analytics enables organizations to operate in a more organized and optimized manner that improves business efficiency.

        Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research shows that organizations have various concerns with regard to analytics and business intelligence (BI). Difficulty in integration and in accessing data sources tops the list and was selected by 35% of participants. Organizations canVentana_Research_Benchmark_Research_Analytics_05_complaints_20220112 (2)-png use Actian’s platform to connect to data sources in any environment and perform analytical tasks. Its data-integration portfolio connects data sources, applications and businesses to automate flows of information. It also provides a parallel execution platform for real-time processing of data in motion. It enables organizations to accelerate the analysis, extraction, transformation and loading of data across the business. Actian offers various products for data-intensive companies in all market segments to improve data-process efficiency and automation. It can integrate its data management, integration and analytics approaches with major software vendors including Looker, Cloudera, Informatica and Oracle, among others. Actian is in the midst of reinventing itself with Avalanche, which provides a modern, cloud-native platform for existing customers, as well as an environment to attract new customers where they can get started without investing in heavy infrastructure setup and migration costs. Key use-cases for which Avalanche is positioned include customer 360, real-time analytics and accelerated BI, as well as fraud detection, risk management, and claims integrity. Avalanche is particularly well-suited to high-performance, real-time analytics thanks to its combination of massively-parallel processing, columnar storage, high concurrency, vector processing, and the use of CPU cache for query acceleration.

        Actian can boast a combination of proven and mature functionality with its new platform, but more than anything, it needs to develop its profile and brand with new customers. HCL provides the backing it needs to expand its footprint with its Avalanche platform, and ramping up the HCL sales forces will help Actian create new opportunities. Its Avalanche Cloud Data Platform offers data managers the potential to access data in silos that are not only hard to break down but are also disparate from each other across the enterprise. The platform knocks down the silos and frees the data they contain in order to help drive the organization’s business forward. Additionally, it enables business stakeholders to use real-time data and analytics and derive greater value from their data pipelines. I recommend that organizations migrating to the cloud and looking for a cloud data platform with integration and management capabilities should evaluate Actian.


        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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