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Data Sheet—Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome to hump day, Data Sheet readers! Why are three former Oracle database experts and the founder of Informix willing to help out Hadoop developer Splice Machine? Read more about the startup’s proposal for “provably scalable” relational database apps in today’s FAQ column. But first, if you’re using a circa 2010-2012 notebook with an HP or Compaq logo you might want to find a fire extinguisher.

TRENDING

AT&T reorg shores up business mobility strategy. The carrier reassigned the head of its wireless division, Ralph de la Vega, to lead a new unit that combines its wireless and business communications portfolios. This makes sense considering heightened competition from the cable guys, which are poaching commercial accounts with their Wi-Fi networks.

Tablet talk. Gadget-geek watchers are agog about rekindled rumors Apple is planning a 12.9-inch version of its tablet early in 2015. That’s more than three inches larger than current models and could be important for enterprise apps promised by the IBM-Apple meet-up (especially in the medical world). What we DO know for sure is that the Los Angeles school district just put a $1 billion iPad purchase order on hold. Meanwhile, in Microsoft tablet-land, engineers are prepping a fix for Surface Pro 3 models that are too hot to handle.

Can’t touch this. Speaking of overheating, if you use an HP- or Compaq-brand notebook (circa 2010 to 2012) you should check the model number. Up to 6 million power cords were just recalled over fire and burn incidents.

CLOUD CHATTER

Salesforce to European clients: We hear you. The cloud CRM leader plans data centers in the United Kingdom, France and Germany to address legal concerns. To quote CEO Marc Benioff: “Cloud is going mainstream and these countries want to make sure that these clouds are part of their national infrastructure and are part of their national assets.”

Are your employees keeping things in Sync? You might want to add this file-sharing service from peer-to-peer pioneer BitTorrent to your BYOD management watchlist. It just topped 10 million user installs.

Box poaches senior Salesforce exec. One week ahead of its post-Labor Day customer conference, the company hired Villi Iltchev to head corporate development and acquisitions. More prep for its highly anticipated IPO.

STATS & SPECS

Biggest. Hard drive. Ever. Seagate is shipping the world’s first 8 terabyte system to select customers for use in cloud content and disaster recovery applications. It’ll be more broadly available next quarter.

How refreshing. Second-quarter stats from IDC show worldwide server revenue increased 2.5% over the previous year—reaching $12.6 billion and marking the “beginning of a cyclical refresh cycle.” Growth factors include end of support for Windows Server 2003, Intel’s forthcoming Grantley Xeon EP launch and interest in hyperscale web architectures. 

Trick or treat: IBM servers due in October. The new Power 8 technology (meant for big data and cloud infrastructure) will include the first products to emerge since the company sold its x86 line to Lenovo and will scale the portfolio substantially behind its current configurations.

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

Which leads matter? Bizible’s flagship software pulls data about online advertisement engagement into Salesforce, so marketing and sales can prioritize efforts rather than arguing over who does their job better. Customers include ADP, Fujitsu and MongoDB, and its latest round of $8 million brings its total to $10 million.

FAQ

Yesterday, relatively low-key Hadoop relational database startup Splice Machine signed a who’s-who of technical advisors. The fab four list includes the principal architect of Oracle RAC Roger Bamford, Apache Spark expert Michael Franklin, in-memory pioneer Marie-Anne Neimat (she of Times Ten), and Facebook’s head of analytics Ken Rudin. Did I mention three of them list Oracle on their resumes? 

In a stroke of fortuitous timing, I already had a call booked with CEO Monte Zweben, no slouch himself in the technical department: NASA Ames artificial intelligence researcher, founder of Blue Martini and Red Pepper. So I asked him what purpose this team will serve. “They are advocates of the company who will help us see things from a new perspective,” he says.

What originally caught my notice was the extra $3 million in funding the 45-person developer snagged in early August: not a huge amount, but one that brings its total raised so far to $22 million. Plus, one of the investors was yet another database bigwig: Roger Sippl, founder of Informix.

What makes the Splice Machine interesting is the simplicity of its value proposition: the technology it’s testing in several dozen proof-of-concept projects adds Hadoop scale to traditional relationship database applications. Translation: they can run a whole lot faster.

“We’ve innovated in a way to allow the platform to be used for real-time operations and analytics,” Zweben says. Put another way: “We replace Oracle, MySQL, DB2 or SQL Server when they hit the wall.” (Yes, it’s ANSI SQL compatible, so you can check that one off.)

Splice Machine does this at a cost starting at $5,000 per node per year (a small project would require 10 to 20 nodes, while a large cluster would probably need at least 50). Zweben says one declared enterprise customer, marketing services company Harte Hanks, is replacing the Oracle RAC installation it used for campaign management. It orchestrates CRM data, clickstream, e-commerce activity and point-of-sale updates, among other things. In real time.

A final note from Zweben: Stay tuned for an “imminent” commercial availability declaration, plus relationships with services partners in the coming weeks.

ONE MORE THING …

Like what you see in your Instagram feed? Now you can buy it. Nordstrom, Target and marketing analytics company Curalate are behind Like2Buy, a new service that lets users purchase items simply by clicking on photos fed up by the retailers. A similar service from startup Soldsie initiates transactions via comments. Sounds great for retailers, not so great for parents of teenagers.

EVENTS

Boxworks14: Talk enterprise cloud strategy. (Sept. 2 – 4, San Francisco)

Atlassian Summit: Build software, collaboratively. (Sept. 9 – 11, San Jose, Calif.)

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Cloud trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)

Interop: Actionable solutions for IT headaches. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, New York)

Enterprise Security Summit: Challenges, trends and solutions. (Sept. 30, New York)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014. Glean intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)

Dreamforce: 1,400 sessions about the largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: Big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)

TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28- 30, Miami Beach)

AWS re:Invent: The latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

Gartner Data Center Conference: New ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)