Oracle To Acquire Enterprise Search Vendor Endeca

While Oracle may have passed on the opportunity to acquire Autonomy before Hewlett-Packard Inc. shelled out $10.3 billion for the supplier of enterprise search software, that doesn't mean Oracle was not interested in shoring up its ability to address the market for analyzing unstructured data.

Oracle on Tuesday said it has agreed to acquire Endeca Technologies Inc., a provider of software called MDEX Engine that allows users to gather and analyze unstructured data. Terms of the deal, which is slated to close by year's end, were not disclosed.

Closely held Endeca, based in Cambridge, Mass., also offers Endeca InFront, software designed to offer targeted data to Web commerce applications, which Oracle said will fit well with its ATG Commerce suite. Another key product, Endeca Latitude, gathers and brings together structured and unstructured data, which Oracle will add to its Oracle Business Intelligence suite.

"The combination of Oracle and Endeca is extremely compelling in this changing data environment," said Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of development, in a statement. "Together, we will provide best-in-class technology to manage structured and unstructured data together; business intelligence tools to analyze structured and unstructured data together; and a broad suite of packaged applications which extends the value of unstructured data into ERP, supply chain, CRM, EPM, Web commerce, and specialized applications. This technology will also allow us to integrate more comprehensive unstructured data management into Oracle's engineered systems."

With the growth of Web content, social media and content management repositories, there is an increasing need to mine all of this unstructured data. Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson said in a blog post that traditional relational database management systems are not suited for managing unstructured content.

"This is a very smart move by Oracle," Evelson said. "With this acquisition Oracle leapfrogged all other leading BI vendors in its capability to integrate unharmonized data sources and perform search based BI."

Evelson said key competitors include SAP's Hana in-memory analytics computing platform along with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, though he described it as a "stretch." Microsoft's FAST Search is also a competitor, though the company has not positioned it as a BI tool, he said. QlikView and Tibco also recently added search capability to their BI tools, Evelson noted, but those don't scale at this point.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.