Cray courts the big-data market

But do we still need supercomputers when we have Hadoop?

Supercomputer company Cray has created a new division that will sell big-data systems, the company has announced. The division will market its offerings to large enterprises, which will be a new kind of client for the company.

"All of our customers have been in the high-performance computing market. With big data, we wanted to set apart a division of the company really attuned to the enterprise customer," Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro said.

The new division, called YarcData, will be managed by former Informatica executive Arvind Parthasarathi. Parthasarathi, a new hire for Cray, led the master-data-management business unit for Informatica, which sells business intelligence software. Parthasarathi also worked at Oracle and i2 Technologies.

"There are numerous unmet segments of the big-data market. The approach we're taking is a completely different spin on the big-data problem," Parthasarathi said. Big data is a popular buzzword for the practice of analyzing vast stores of unstructured data, a practice favored by competitive Internet services such as Twitter and Yahoo. It's one that increasingly is being considered by enterprises as well.

Parthasarathi did not divulge details about the packages the company will offer. Parthasarathi admits that the company is still "tight-lipped" about any offerings, largely because the big-data division still must design and assemble the specific packages it will offer.

However, the products "will be very suited to the big-data problems and we'll come at it from a very different way," Parthasarathi said. Along with its own hardware, Cray would probably use the Hadoop data processing platform, perhaps through a partnership with an established vendor such as Cloudera or Hortonworks. It also plans to market the offerings to specific industries or application areas.

In at least one respect, a supercomputer maker jumping into the big-data fray is a bit unusual. In a 2010 IDG News Service interview with Yahoo executive Raymie Stata, who oversaw much of Yahoo's development of Hadoop, Stata argued that big-data packages such as Hadoop minimize the need for supercomputers. This is because they allow large-scale analysis to be executed where the data resides (usually across multiple servers), eliminating the computationally expensive operation of shipping all the data to the supercomputer itself.

However, Parthasarathi maintained that Cray could offer advantages in the big-data arena.

"There are a lot of technologies that Cray had developed in the supercomputing world that are very relevant in the big-data process. Our focus is not to just sell another box, but to have business-focused solutions," Parthasarathi said.

Cray's Knowledge Management practice, which is being decommissioned, will form the base of YarcData, and the company will draw employees from other divisions as well, such as research and development, marketing, sales, services and support.

YarcData is not Cray's only endeavor to expand its market base. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is expanding its range of products for what it calls the midrange supercomputing market. The company's new line of Cray CX1000-based systems will start at about US$200,000 each and will be marketed toward researchers unable to afford the company's more expensive petascale systems.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >




Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?