We spoke to Amir Halfon, the company's senior director of technology for its financial services business, to find out more.
Q: Oracle just announced its Big Data Appliance. What is it, and what hardware/software components make it up?
A: It is a pre-engineered machine, optimised to run Hadoop and NoSQL DB, with both pre-configured and pre-optimised, such as taking advantage of InfiniBand. The appliance also includes a set of big data connectors, which facilitate the connectivity to other data stores such as data warehouses. Also included is an implementation of the R stats language.
Big Data Appliance Datasheet
Big Data Connectors Datasheet
Q: You've partnered with Cloudera for the Hadoop side - why not produce your own distribution, as you did with Linux?
A: As the leader in Apache Hadoop-based data platforms, Cloudera has the enterprise quality and expertise that make them the right choice to work with on the Oracle Big Data Appliance. Cloudera offers mature, reliable, and innovative products and services and unsurpassed training, support, and expertise.
Q: And how does the appliance fit in with the relational Oracle 11g database? How do you see the relational and big data worlds interacting?
A: We see big data, and data management in general as a continuum, where different technologies work in concert to provide a holistic platform. See more here.
Q: What financial markets applications can be tackled with R? Are there plans to incorporate other statistical or analysis packages in the future?
A: Time-series analysis is the first one that comes to mind, as it's fairly ubiquitous in our industry, and Oracle R provides robust functionality and scalability, with the ability to work against the full data set rather than pull a sample into an analyst desktop. Other statistical analytics having to do with risk management and fraud detection also come to mind.
Q: How does the appliance fit in with Oracle's broader big data strategy, and other products you've released in this space?
A: It is a compliment to Exadata and Exalytics, as well as products like Endeca [acquired in October 2011] and the Oracle BI Suite, providing an end-to-end holistic data management platform that covers all aspects associated with data acquisition, organisation, analytics and distribution.