I had an opportunity to visit a number of vendors on my recent trip to China… the primary purpose of the trip was to attend Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, but I took the opportunity to do a day of sales calls in Beijing on my way home.
First, the Huawei Analyst Summit… Big themes this year were cloud and digital. Huawei has real strength in some core verticals like telecom, and are building on these strengths to expand beyond their home market. Telco has some pretty rigorous analytics requirements, so it’s a good basis to start from.
The cloud strategy seems to follow a partner and expand methodology. Huawei has partnered with T-Systems, Orange, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, and others. Note that these are all carriers — back to the strength in telco! For me, it was hard to discern where Huawei’s stuff began and the cloud infrastructure partner’s stuff ended, but it all came clearer as the conference went on… Huawei is providing cloud management software and services based on Open Stack which then runs on a wide range of partner clouds.
From a data and analytics perspective, it was all about FusionInsight, which consists of a Hadoop stack, an MPP database (creatively named “MPP DB”), and surrounding tools for mining and analytics. (I’m a DBMS guy, so focusing on the foundational aspects here!) Huawei has done some interesting enhancements to the Hadoop core as well including a new filesystem (CarbonData, now an Apache Incubator Project), and their own SQL on Hadoop offering (Elk).
In Beijing, I visited with Seabox Data, and GBase. The former is pursuing a Hadoop-based strategy to provide a range of services from core data warehousing, to NoSQL and operational DBMS with some visualization tools, data integration capabilities (some OEMd from Oracle Goldengate). Whether Hadoop can really do all that they are trying to make it do remains to be seen. The latter has a large suite of DBMS products for operational use (GBase 8t, based on IBM Informix), analytic use (GBase 8a), in-memory (GBase 8m), and a security enhanced version of 8t that caters to local security requirements (Gbase 8s).
As my colleague Nick Heudecker noted, the scale of the market in China is massive. Petabyte scale implementations with hundreds of nodes are not uncommon. Even if these vendors focused only on their local markets, they could build a sustainable business. They all, however, have their sights set on the overseas markets, and the all face similar challenges. So here are some general recommendations:
- Partner with global consulting firms and overseas vendors (Huawei is already doing this well)
- Localize your web presence beyond China
- Differentiate with full vertically oriented solutions
- Recognize that strengths in your local market will not necessarily translate to the global market
There are a number of vendors based in China that are coming up on our radar… these include:
- Seabox Data
They all have interesting and capable products, and the all have aspirations to the global market. It will be interesting to see how they progress over the coming years!