The Information Builders partnership is the first in a strategy designed to provide Scale partners with additional software services, turning their hardware platform into an App Store of sorts.
SMB- and midmarket-focused hyper-converged vendor Scale Computing has announced a new partnership with business intelligence [BI] and analytics provider Information Builders. It has led to the availability of the Scale Analytics Appliance, which combines Information Builders’ WebFOCUS Business User Edition software and Scale Computing’s HC3 virtualization platform into a hyper-converged appliance with BI and analytics functionality designed to be easy for SMBs to consume.
“We are excited about this partnership,” said Jason Collier, Scale’s CTO and co-founder. “Both companies have had a good midmarket focused strategy. At shows, we would win award for the best hardware and they would win the award for the best software and at one we basically agreed to get together and form a solution – at a price that’s channel friendly and appropriate for the midmarket.”
While the industry has seen some impressive innovations in the business intelligence space, few of them have much of a presence below the enterprise.
“BI hasn’t been strong in the SMB and midmarket,” Collier said. “With the Scale Analytics Appliance, we have an enterprise-grade product for this market. Information Builder’s Business User software, on top of Scale hardware, runs like BI software on top of an AS 400 – except that it’s a $50,000 solution to deliver BI in your environment.”
“We found, in talking with our customers, that we solved their virtualization question – but they still had business intelligence issues, even though many of them didn’t know the term,” said Doug Howell, Scale’s Global Director of OEM Sales. “They thought a solution for this would be too complex and expensive. The Business User edition addresses this perfectly. It is built to be very easy to use, and is very flexible how it plugs in, covering a lot of data sources. It’s great BI, designed for a business user rather than a technical one.”
Howell said that while Scale’s HC3 appliance solves their clients’ virtualization problems, they have many other issues they need help with.
“Our customers told us that that it’s not they solved their virtualization problem and they are done, and can sit back,” he said. “Whether it be firewall, traffic management or something else, the list of issues for SMBs is long. Scale’s mission is to solve SMB problems. We solved one in virtualization. Now we are looking actively for other vendor partners who have a similar approach to the world. Selling to the SMB is very hard, and so is designing solutions for their problems.”
Thus, the Information Builder partnership is only the first of what Scale intends will be multiple software solutions on their platform which solve specific SMB issues.
“This is the first of many solutions we can offer customers that they can set up easily on their Scale cluster – like an App Store,” Howell stated. There are more solutions in the pipeline, including one that is on the brink of being announced.
For Information Builder, this type of partnership is relatively new.
“It’s unusual for us to go out with any kind of an appliance,” said Jake Freivald, VP of Marketing at Information Builders. “We have an OEM agreement with IBM around System i, which is actually the genesis of our Business User packaging. It is very specialized, however, very AS 400-focused, and not to this level of scale. Scale Computing is also a very different type of partner for us, which has an enormous level of flexibility in the market.”
Freivald said that while Information Builder has a great SMB product, is ramping up a program for their partners, and is hopeful of success for their channel here, the immediate gains on the channel side are more likely to be among Scale’s channel.
“We think the initial real SMB market penetration from this is more likely to be with Scale partners, because this gives them something new to sell,” he said.
Howell agreed that this should be a windfall for Scale partners.
“Most Scale partners are infrastructure guys, who are figuring out how to get more into the services side of things,” he said. “With the Information Builder software, we are introducing them into a way to sell simply what would normally be a very complex solution. With the Information Builder resellers, it’s the reverse. They are good at BI, but not at infrastructure. Now we are bringing that infrastructure piece to them in an easy to set up a ‘datacentre in a box.’
Scale Analytics starts at less than $USD 50,000 and is available now.