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Blog February 03, 2016

Microsoft opens its wallet again

Over the Christmas holiday the time came for Microsoft to buy a new BI company this time they acquired Metanautix. This was a three-year-old product company whose product enables developers to write SQL statements for large volumes of unstructured data (or “big data environments”).

This is an extremely interesting product for us in the BI industry, as it enables all of us who feel comfortable writing SQL code to quickly start work to analyse even unstructured data. 


One of the founders of Metanautix, Theo Vassilaki, started his career at Google by developing Dremel, Google’s internal tool for analysing business transactions and profitability in large volumes of data. The other founder, Toli Lerios, worked at Facebook before Metanautix, on advanced image analyses of large volumes of images.


Joseph Sirosh (Corporate Vice President of the “Data Group” at Microsoft) said in a statement that Microsoft intends to embed the Metanautix product in its BI product suite (which includes both the more traditional SQL Server environment and Cortana Data Analytics). This statement was not so surprising in itself, but we look forward to seeing this product as an element of the future offering from Microsoft. 


As I’m blogging a little about Cortana Data Analytics anyway, I thought I’d take the opportunity to provide a general description of it here. Microsoft uses this name as a collective term for its entire suite of cloud-based BI products: 



Image obtained from Microsoft.com 

Here you can see that Microsoft sees source data coming from business systems, custom apps and sensors, before moving to either an Azure Data Warehouse or Data Lake, and you then analyse data with the aid of Machine Learning (e.g. using the R programming language), Hadoop HD Insight or Azure Stream Analytics. It is no doubt here where it is envisaged that Metanautix will come into the picture, as their product makes it possible to ask the same questions to data warehouses, Hadoop clusters and data lakes.


Each block in the image above is actually worth its own blog, if you’re really going to get down to the nerd level of detail, but what I find great it that it’s these kinds of “small applications” that are making our everyday lives easier. It appears that just like me, Microsoft also felt that a piece of the jigsaw was missing here.


David Stavegård, Business Area Manager, Enfo Pointer