We have had quite a resurgence in the web market during the last few years. A number of great companies have come out of nowhere to become household names, and it seems that everyday we are inundated with news on another slew of new web startups going after the consumer. And yes, looking for the next YouTube or Facebook or Myspace is exciting. Depsite all of that, the one area is that is not discussed much is the boring infrastructure market where companies sell the picks and shovels to allow these startups to run their operations. And what could be more boring than talking about a database or data warehouse? Anyway, I am glad that Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal wrote a nice article on a new breed of startups going after the database market. Shamelessly, I would like to add that he has a nice writeup on Greenplum (full disclosure: my fund is an investor and i am a board member).
Granted, the opportunity to make money selling picks and shovels during this web resurgence is definitely much harder as developers typically go for free and cheap software and hardware to launch their new companies. That being said, every click that we make is being stored somewhere and the companies who can better analyze this data to better monetize their sites will be the winners in the next phase of the web. This is where Greenplum comes into play. The company is not only playing off of the data volume and analysis trend but also the move towards commiditization. As Don mentions in his article, the secret sauce is that our customers can deploy massive data warehouses using our software which is built on top of the open source database Postgres and deploy it on commodity boxes. The benefit is not only in terms of cost but also in significant performance increases over the competition. As per Don's article today:
One user is iCrossing Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., which provides analytical services to companies that operate Web sites. Analyzing a day's worth of some types of data once took 20 to 22 hours, said Tony Wasson, the company's vice president of engineering. With Greenplum's technology, and some modifications to its own software, the job now takes about an hour, he said.
Anyway, it is nice to see the mainstream press finally getting the fact that data and analytics matter. Yes, plumbing is boring, but without cost effective platforms which can scale and perform under heavy stress, we won't be able to reach the full peak of monetization on the web.