On the heels of Microsoft's announcement of its Power BI for Office 365, Intel launched its Data Platform on Thursday. The cloud
suite, like Power BI, is intended to make it faster and easier for companies to gain business intelligence
and insights from collected data
The platform, which includes an Analytics Tooklit to create a graph analytics and predictive modeling environment, enables the importing, managing and analysis of big data. It uses open-source technologies including Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop software.
Intel said its new platform provides benefits that could not previously be obtained just from Hadoop, including streaming data processing, interactive and iterative analytics, and graph processing. A toolkit provides a set of common algorithms for graphs, network-based clustering, and related functions. It also offers numerous options for customization.
'OS for Big Data Processing'
Boyd Davis, Intel vice president and general manager of the its Datacenter Software Division, said in a statement that the new Data Platform is "like an operating system for big data processing."
Two versions of the platform, Enterprise and Premium Editions, will be available in second quarter. The Enterprise Edition will be available for free, while the Premium version will come with an annual subscription that offers enhanced automation, proactive security fixes and alerts, continuing feature enhancements, and live phone support.
How will businesses use Intel's new platform? Examples include a retailer being able to rapidly analyze social media data, sensor data, in-store purchases, and inventory to see if a recent celebrity endorsement has made an impact. Another example would be a telecommunications company integrating and analyzing a large amount of data about a single customer in order to recommend a specific product or service.
Intel also cited two recent case histories. In one, China Mobile Guangdong used Intel technology to retrieve up to six months of call data in near real time -- as much as 300,000 records per second -- in order to improve billing processes and customer service with online bill payments.
In another application, retail-technology provider Living Naturally is using the Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop to analyze data from social media, search engines, and weather sites to glean insights about retailers' management of supply chains and product promotions.
The Competition: Microsoft's Power BI
Earlier this week, Microsoft launched a release version of its self-service, cloud-based suite of business intelligence tools called Power BI for Office 365. Available as a beta-test version this summer, the Microsoft tools will offer data access, data management, and data analysis features for Excel as well as viewer clients for SharePoint and Windows 8.
Accompanying its release, a Microsoft executive posted on The Official Microsoft Blog that "business intelligence is only used by a fraction of the people that could derive value from it."
Microsoft's latest effort at the democratization of data analysis includes a Q&A feature that accepts search terms and delivers visual results like interactive charts or graphs, natural language search of an Excel workbook uploaded to Power BI, Power Query for searching and accessing public or private data sources, a Power View dashboard, and Power Map for utilizing geospatial data.