GE Bringing Hadoop to ‘Industrial Internet’

What does Hadoop have to do with a factory line? A lot, if GE has anything to say about it.

GE is entering the Apache Hadoop game.

The new Proficy Monitoring & Analysis software suite, released by the company’s Intelligent Platforms division, includes a number of tools for data analysis and visualization. But the one that may draw the most attention is Proficy Historian HD, which (in GE’s words) “allows storage of massively large data sets in a Hadoop cluster.”

Apache Hadoop has become a popular framework for those with a need to analyze massive amounts of unstructured data stored on clusters. Over the past several quarters, several large tech firms (along with a variety of startups) have all released hardware and software platforms built atop Hadoop. GE intends its Hadoop solution to support its vision of an “industrial Internet,” in which sensors feed information about equipment and manufacturing processes to a central database for analysis. The name “Proficy Historian” refers to the software’s focus on collecting time-series (i.e., historical) data.

“GE manages 5 TB of new time-series data per day,” Brian Courtney, General Manager of GE Intelligent Platforms’ Industrial Data Intelligence Software group, wrote in a statement. “Our experience in big data and analytics that maximize equipment and process performance mitigates the risk for other companies.”

The other tools in the Proficy Monitoring & Analysis software suite allow companies to visualize data, troubleshoot issues in manufacturing processes, and make predictive analyses. The Proficy Knowledge Center, for example, uses data to create a unified picture of process and equipment health (and relies heavily Proficy Historian to store and manage the underlying data).

But GE faces some significant competition if it wants to leave its mark in the Hadoop space; Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and lots of other firms offer Hadoop solutions. But GE is also serious about becoming a Big Data player, and willing to invest the cash, pouring pouring $105 million into Pivotal, an offshoot of EMC’s VMware subsidiary that focuses on analytics and cloud applications. Even that’s a drop in the bucket compared to GE Healthcare, which will devote $2 billion to analytics-software development over the next five years.

 

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