Microsoft buys big data startup Metanautix

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft Acquires Big Data Startup Metanautix.

Terms were not disclosed, but Palo Alto, California-based Metanautix had raised about $7 million in venture funding from Sequoia Capital and others since its founding in 2012.Microsoft has acquired a young Palo Alto startup called Metanautix, a firm specializing in helping large enterprises filter through their hordes of in-house data. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed Cofounded in 2012 by Theo Vassilakis and Toli Lerios, who previously worked at Google and Facebook respectively, Metanautix launched in September 2014 shortly after raising $7 million and after two years in development.

In a blog post announcing the transaction, Microsoft said Metanautix helps companies bring all their data together for analytics to gain powerful insights and drive growth through intelligent automation. The company sells its technology to big firms wishing to pool its myriad of data sources from across departments and divisions, covering databases and business systems such as Salesforce, to serve up meaningful insights. It said companies like Shutterfly already relied on Metanautix for marketing campaign analytics to find the most effective ways to acquire and keep customers. His co-founder is Apostolos Lerios, a former Facebook FB -2.05% senior engineer who worked on that company’s photo service, which is home to billions of our own photos and other images. When the company publicly launched, this publication reported that it had “half a dozen beta customers using [its] software.” Despite that, its run as an independent shop is over.

Microsoft added that it planned to “bring Metanautix technology into the Microsoft data platform, including SQL Server and the Cortana Analytics Suite” in the coming months. Metanautix applied the standard SQL (the initials stand for structure query language) used to ask questions of traditional relational databases to wild-and-wooly data that doesn’t fit into that row-and-column mold. The company is a startup founded by former Google engineer Theo Vassilakis who spearheaded an effort to create a similar tool called Dremel while he was at Google. Being able to apply that same tool to messy non-relational data, in theory means that businesses can learn much more from their diverse data sources in one fell swoop. It manages to say even less than you might expect, but did find space for its CEO to thank his employees: “It’s been a thrilling ride, but before we begin the next exciting chapter I’d like to take a moment to thank our amazing team who has made all of this possible[.]” With just $7 million raised, and most of that in years past, it isn’t impossible to guess that the company was light on cash at the time of the sale, heading into a far more challenging fundraising climate than when it launched.

We look forward to being part of Microsoft’s important efforts with Azure and SQL Server to give enterprise customers a unified view of all of their data across cloud and on-premises systems.” As with many of Microsoft’s recent acquisitions, Metanautix fits into its bigger plan to build “the intelligent cloud,” one of three key investment areas chief executive Satya Nadella announced back in June. It was intended to be used at Google internally but Vassilakis thought about how other companies would perform these types of searches without Google’s resources. Microsoft has made almost 20 acquisitions this year, and “cloud” has featured prominently, including cloud security startup Adallom and cybersecurity firm Secure Islands.

So a business analyst for a product manufacturer could ask how much of Product A sold in the second quarter, but also parse posts on Twitter or Facebook to see how customers liked or didn’t like what they bought. Quest’s tagline encapsulates the idea of what it does really well: “Create software-defined data marts.” Data could come from anywhere such as a number of sources and looking into everywhere could be a handful for programmers and software alike.

Instead of gathering data from many sources across the enterprise, private cloud, public cloud, and anywhere else and putting it into a single data repository so you can query it as a whole, Quest lets you query all that data where it resides, but treat it as a single data set. That simplifies the process and makes it more agile. “Companies continue to generate enormous volumes of information and aspire to be more data-driven in their strategies and operations,” said Microsoft VP Joseph Sirosh in a Dec. 18 blog post. “But many struggle to bring together their various sources and siloes of data, and only analyze and use a fraction of all the available information. Metanautix’ technology breaks these boundaries to connect the ‘data supply chain,’ no matter what the type, size or location of an organization’s data.” A good example of Metanautix’s work could be seen in Shutterfly.

It was unclear whether Metanautix’s year-old product, the Quest Data Engine, which claimed HP, Shutterfly, and the University of Chicago as customers, will still be offered separately or whether its technology will be integrated into Microsoft’s offerings. Cofounder and CTO Toli Lerios served as a software engineer for photo and video analytics at Facebook before teaming up with Vassilakis to start Metanautix in 2012.

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