Greenplum, and the Web 2.0 server

Greenplum, a San Mateo company offering businesses an affordable way to sort though hundreds of terabytes of data to become more intelligent about their customers’ habits, has raised $19 million in financing.

Greenplum is significant because it says it provides a database for speedy data warehousing at a tenth of the cost of leading incumbent, Teradata. It does so by working with the new server built by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, billed internally as the “Web 2.0 server.”

web20box.bmpCalled the Sun Fire X4500, the server has 48 disk drives and 24TB of storage, a significant amount considering the server is the size of two telephone books. (See Bechtolsheim demo the server in YouTube video below). Tim O’Reilly, a publisher who has in recent years become obsessed with collecting and processing business data to make better business decisions, has used it (see here for more details and a video where O’Reilly speaks with the former Greenplum CEO). O’Reilly discusses how Amazon and other Internet companies will need this technology, because they want to measure clicks, and other customers actions — to understand trends and find ways to boost profits. Greenplum has 15 customers, and announces tomorrow (Tuesday) that it has signed up the largest Phillipines wireless service provider, SMART, which also serves the most SMS messages in the world (the Filipinos really like texting).

Sierra Ventures led a $15 million cash investment, and was joined by existing investors Mission Ventures, Dawntreader Ventures, and EDF Ventures. Comerica Bank provided $4 million in debt. Notably, Sierra was the investor in competitor Teradata. Greenplum sells 100 TB hardware and software for $1.8 million, a tenth of Teradata’s price, co-founder Luke Lonergan tells VentureBeat. Teradata had $1.5 billion in sales last year, and revenue growth of 7.5 percent.

The company named Sun executive Bill Cook as chief executive. Greenplum is built on the high-end open source database, PostgreSQL

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