Oracle buys DataRaker for energy analytics smarts

Other than its well-publicized cloud computing push, Oracle(s orcl) has been buying more into vertical application niches for years. On Thursday it’s done more of the same with news of its planned acquisition of DataRaker, which specializes in “cloud-based” (naturally) analytics for the electric, gas and water utilities world. Terms were not disclosed.

DataRaker’s technologies will tie into Oracle’s existing Utilities Solutions, according to Oracle. Energy and water load tracking and forecasting using information from dispersed meters as well as weather and other feeds is a text-book big data use case and Oracle is busily chasing big data opportunities.

In a letter to DataRaker customers, Rodger Smith, SVP and GM of Oracle Utilities wrote:

Leading-edge utilities are investing in infrastructure to collect massive amounts of data from millions of distributed smart meters and sensors. This “Big Data” requires an innovative technology platform to process and analyze the information so that utilities can then leverage it into actionable business intelligence. DataRaker’s cloud-based analytics, when combined with Oracle Utilities solutions, are expected to transform meter, customer, network and asset Big Data for improved decision-making capabilities. The two-way information flow between DataRaker and Oracle’s mission-critical applications will strengthen the effectiveness of both solution sets.

For Oracle, vertical applications are growing in importance as foundational database technologies get more commoditized. Both Oracle and arch-rival SAP(s sap) have dug deeper into industrial vertical areas for years. By buying more specialized intellectual property, Oracle can offer higher-end, higher-margin applications.  It was unclear from DataRaker’s site whether its technology already runs on Oracle’s databases but that would be a safe bet. Perhaps even more importantly than getting new IP, M&A also buys Oracle more customers and with them bigger support and service revenue.

According to its website, DataRaker’s applications are used by utility companies to identify energy and water theft via meter tampering or service bypass by pattern recognition. The company’s tools also forecast load demand based on weather and other factors.

 Photo courtesy of Flickr user ivva