IBM eyes big data at big banks with Platform buy

IBM (s ibm) on Tuesday announced it is has acquired Platform Computing, a Toronto-based software company that made a name for itself in high-performance computing but recently made a splash in the cloud computing and big data spaces. Platform has a fine legacy business selling its cluster- and grid-management software to some of the world’s biggest banks, but something tells me IBM is far more interested in the future.

Platform’s roughly $72 million legacy business is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not likely what inspired IBM to pull the trigger on this deal after, I’ve heard, numerous previous attempts. Rather, it’s likely Platform’s recent forays into cloud computing and big data that had Big Blue spotting an opportunity to cash in. IBM has products addressing these markets, but they don’t necessarily cater to the performance-obsessed, control-freak customers Platform courts.

For example, research firm Forrester recently ranked Platform’s cloud-management product, called ISF, tops among a handful of competing offerings, some of which (including IBM) are household names in the cloud space. Platform also has released a big data product called Platform MapReduce, which provides a management layer for a wide variety of Hadoop and MapReduce distributions and products. Platform claims its big data product can scale to 10,000 nodes per application, handle 17,000 tasks per second and operate at sub-millisecond latency.

For IBM, the products should mean a foot in the door for large deals with Platform’s existing customer base, many of which already trust Platform to manage their massively distributed systems. Banks, manufacturing firms and the like are all looking to get in on the cloud and big data action, and they’re notoriously big spenders on technologies — now, cloud computing and big data — they think will give them a competitive advantage.

Rumor of the acquisition surfaced earlier this month.