What happened?
Productivity software giant Microsoft (MSFT -3.58%) has announced that it has acquired Metanautix, a small data analytics company that helps enterprise customers make informed operational decisions.

Metanautix initially set out to integrate data supply chains by building a computational engine in order to enable scalable SQL access to data. The company was started in 2012 by two big data engineers. Microsoft says that by using Metanautix technology, IT departments can connect a wide range of company data sources into private and public clouds in a decentralized fashion, saving costs in the process.

Does it matter?
Microsoft continues to build up its data analytics capabilities, and Metanautix fits perfectly within this strategy. The company introduced its Microsoft Analytics Platform System in April 2014, a turnkey appliance for big data analytics. Analytics is an important part of Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, so the company needs to continue developing its offerings.

Earlier this year, Amazon.com (AMZN -2.99%) also made a big push into analytics in its important Amazon Web Services, or AWS, business. At its annual developer conference in October, it launched a slew of new features geared toward big data analytics, including things like Amazon QuickSight, among others.

These types of services are precisely the high-margin differentiators that the major cloud platforms want to offer. While commoditized storage continues to decline in price, Microsoft, Amazon, and other providers need to give enterprise customers ways to actually analyze all that data that they're storing.