What the Greenplum Deal Means to Documentum

There is a question that is sure to come up in Documentum circles – What does the Greenplum deal mean to Documentum. My completely personal and unofficial opinion not to be associated with the company in any way is – nothing.

Nothing any time soon anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I think this is a huge move for EMC. Not necessarily in dollars or immediate revenue but for what it says about EMC’s commitment to be more than a storage vendor. It is about EMC wanting to manage information in every form. I wanted EMC to buy MySQL before Oracle captured it but I have to say this has much better long term potential strategically for EMC.

Devoted content management people are some of the more needy folk I know. I can say this because I am one. I believe this comes from an inferiority complex fostered by the sense that databases get more respect. For years I myself refused to use the term “unstructured” data because I found it insulting. My data has structure. You shouldn’t call it “un”-structured just because your pathetic rows and columns can’t handle it. This acquisition then plays on our greatest fear. Loss of relevance to a database.

Many content management practicioners will (and have on twitter and elsewhere) look at this and immediately try to figure out if EMC still loves them. They’ll logically ask what’s in it for me. Or just as important – what am I going to lose? No doubt the new addition to the family will get plenty of attention but its too early to start reacting like a neurotic middle child kicking over funiture to get attention.

I’ve recently been doing a little light reading on NOSQL and I am thrilled at the chance to explore new content management architectures that employ MapReduce and NOSQL. If you havent already, read Jeff Potts article on the NOSQL, Alfesco and ECM. It is an excellent summary of the topic. It is however premature and overly optimistic to expect too much cross pollenation across the divisions. No doubt there will be interest in shared technologies but the data market itself is lucrative target and a good place to spend time and attention.

When it comes to Greenplum, I believe the message to Documentum and content management right now is simply “It ain’t about you.” Overloaded acronyms aside this deal is about expanding EMC’s software portfolio into what is clearly one of the biggest growth areas affecting storage specifically and computing in general. BIG data analytics.  HUGE data analytics. ENORMOUS data analytics. As a shareholder I am pleased and it makes really good sense to enter this market with a creative innovator with mutual customers.

When it comes down to it … I really don’t care if they get the top bunk so long as I get to play with the new toys once they move in. It’s a big house and getting bigger all the time.

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