— EMC on Tuesday revealed it plans to acquire privately held firm Greenplum, a move that aims to up its appeal to IT buyers thanks to the smaller firm’s data warehousing and analytics processing capabilities.

Specific terms of the all-cash purchase were not disclosed. EMC expects the deal to close by September.

Greenplum develops data warehousing products, including the Greenplum Database, a massively parallel processing (MPP) database for analytical processing that also comes in a free single-node version. It also offers Greenplum Chorus, an enterprise cloud platform for collaboration and data sharing, with features such as self-service provisioning, data collaboration and data services.

The firm claims that its software is capable of delivering 10 to 100 times the performance of traditional database software at a lower cost. Its customers include NASDAQ OMX, NYSE Euronext, Skype, Equifax, T-Mobile and Fox Interactive Media.

According to the companies, Greenplum will form the foundation of a new data computing product division within EMC’s Information Infrastructure business. Its products will continue to be sold separately, but the technology will also be used in other EMC technologies.

“The data warehousing world is about to change. Greenplum’s massively parallel, scale-out architecture, along with its self-service consumption model, has enabled it to separate itself from the incumbent players and emerge as the leader in this industry shift toward ‘big data’ analytics,” Pat Gelsinger, EMC’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Greenplum’s market-leading technology combined with EMC’s virtualized Private Cloud infrastructure provides customers, today, with a best-of-breed solution for tomorrow’s ‘big-data’ challenges.”

As a result of the purchase, Greenplum CEO and founder Bill Cook will lead EMC’s new data computing product division, reporting to Gelsinger.

Sun Microsystems co-founder and former CEO Scott McNealy is an unpaid adviser to Greenplum; it’s believed he also will stay on after the acquisition. Sun used Greenplum products in its Data Warehouse Appliance. (Oracle hasn’t indicated whether it will continue to use Greenplum’s technology in the product now that it owns Sun.)

While EMC is primarily a hardware firm, it has made some big software acquisitions in the past, including RSA Security and VMware, the latter of which has paid off handsomely with the growing popularity of virtualization.

Likewise, EMC’s newest purchase also makes sense, according to Merv Adrian, principal analyst with IT Market Strategy.

“EMC is in the data business, they just don’t happen to have a database,” Adrian told InternetNews.com. “Greenplum has done quite well in analyst evals. So it’s a strong company, with over 100 customers, good geographic distribution in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and a reasonable number of good partnerships. If EMC wants to get in the business intelligence game, they were one of the juicier plums worth picking — no pun intended.”

Adrian pointed out that the deal makes more sense for EMC rather than IBM and Oracle, who also might rate as potential suitors for a company like Greenplum. For one thing, the two largest business intelligence players already have thousands of customers and wouldn’t be getting much out of adding Greenplum’s users.

For EMC, however, modest success is enough.

“It’s an opening into a market they covet, and they don’t have to sell thousands to feel they’ve had a successful acquisition here,” said Adrian. “If Greenplum sells another hundred or two licenses, that’s a nice add into EMC’s business, and it will sell a lot of storage as well.”

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InterNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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