By Mark Dexter
16th June 2011

Microsoft is doubling down on "big data," one of the tech trends that's emerging as a top priority for its customers, says Steve Ballmer. But Microsoft's CEO isn't talking about the kind of internal business intelligence that he says are the focus for IBM, Oracle and other rivals.

In a day of interviews with four InformationWeek editors at Microsoft's headquarters last week, Ballmer and several of his lieutenants provided an expansive vision for what big data and the related cloud computing movement will bring. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can translate that vision into an advantage over rivals IBM and Oracle, or, more importantly, into real value for its customers. But we heard compelling arguments for blending on-premises data and computing capacity with new resources and capabilities in the cloud.

If you think about big data through the narrow lens of large-scale data warehousing, Microsoft is the greenhorn among the likes of EMC (by way of its Greenplum acquisition), Hewlett-Packard (through its Vertica acquisition), IBM, Oracle, and Teradata. Those vendors have fielded products for the top end of the market for years, while Microsoft didn't introduce its SQL Server R2 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) database until late last year. Hardware-complete PDW appliances from HP and other partners weren't available until early this year.

Read the full article at Information Week

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