The term "big data" raises images of engineers figuring out how to run their systems at scale and monitor them. Some might argue that, as big data catches on with mainstream customers, hardware vendors are trying to take the guesswork out of that process. But vendors pushing appliances tell another story. Already, Oracle, EMC, Dell, HP, IBM, Teradata and Kognitio are among those pushing big data appliances designed for Hadoop, massively parallel databases, online transaction processing and/or other analytic workloads. Does this momentum suggest they're onto something about how big data software must be delivered, or just that they smell an opportunity to turn a profit?
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