IRI builds cost-effective, scalable platform for market intelligence and analytics

IRI is saving $1.5 million per year by using MapR to speed up performance and reduce the mainframe load.

The Business

IRI provides market and shopper information, predictive analytics, business intelligence and expertise to help leading CPG, retail and over-the-counter healthcare companies increase revenue, build brands and drive growth. IRI clients include 95 percent of the Fortune Global 500 CPG and retail companies.

Since their business centers around data, IRI’s technology research team is constantly investigating the latest tools and systems for processing, analyzing and managing massive amounts of data. Their goal is to keep technology costs as low as possible while providing clients with state-of-the-art analytic and intelligence tools.

The Challenge

While pursuing these goals, the team encountered both business and technological challenges. They wanted to cut costs by decreasing their mainframe load, and reduce their mainframe support needs. At the same time, they wanted to build the foundation for a more cost-effective, flexible and expandable data processing and storage environment.

IRI specialized in big data before the term became popular. Big data has been their business for more than 30 years. IRI’s objective is to continue to find ways to collect, process and manage big data efficiently so they can provide their clients with leading insights to drive their business growth.

MapR Solution

IRI looked at several options to achieve their goals including traditional warehouse technologies, but Hadoop was by far the most cost-effective solution. Within Hadoop they investigated all the main distributions and various hardware options before settling on MapR on a Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System) cluster.

The team chose MapR to maximize file system performance, facilitate the use of a large number of smaller files, and take full advantage of its NFS capability so files could be sent via FTP from the mainframe directly to the cluster.


The MapR solution has provided IRI with a cost-effective and flexible platform to support their anticipated growth. They’ve been able to build a fully functional production system in only six months. The new system has been able to speed up the processing time while reducing mainframe load. The result is annual savings of more than $1.5 million.

IRI has also discovered the perfect platform for its future growth. Hadoop is not only saving IRI money, it also provides a flexible platform that can easily scale to meet future corporate growth.