Open Source Cloud Authors: William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Apache

@CloudExpo: Article

Platfora Delivers ‘Hadoop for Dummies’

Platfora describes its user-friendly widgetry as the first scale-out in-memory business intelligence platform for Hadoop

Platfora, a start-up with an ace or two in the hole, came out of stealth mode this week with the intention of taking the finicky, balky, ornery Hadoop mainstream and disrupting the $35 billion business analytics market.

The company's aces include Andreessen Horowitz, the young VC with the seemingly Midas touch, and In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm, which together put $7.18 million into the new venture. Both, shall we say, have some pretty interesting contacts.

Platfora describes its user-friendly widgetry as the first scale-out in-memory business intelligence platform for Hadoop.

That's the fancy geek description.

Its founder Ben Werther, a former Apache Cassandra and Greenplum product strategy guy, describes the solution more trenchantly.

Hadoop, he says, is like a big cardboard box carelessly filled with Big Data. His widgetry can figure out what the data is and what it means and turn it into pictures without teams of IT staff reorganizing a data warehouse. In fact it eliminates data warehouses and ETL (extract, transform, and load) software altogether. Users can question the data right after it's collected.

Compared to what can be done now he's promising a "Hadoop for Dummies" that may mean the end of the data warehouse.

Platfora is a fundamentally different kind of BI platform. It transforms the raw data in Hadoop into interactive, in-memory BI without a traditional data warehouse and its inherent limitations. End users get a beautiful web-based analysis interface using HTML5 technology - the first of its kind.

Platfora pulls data out of Hadoop into an in-memory data processing engine, making access to the data extremely fast. It leverages Hadoop to do the heavy lifting, processing massive Big Data into highly efficient, in-memory data stores (think datamarts-on-the-fly).

The start-up's biggest innovation, however, rests with how the layers work together seamlessly. It automatically refines the in-memory data based on the questions users ask.

Werther says, "Everyone talks about the promise of Big Data, but the real innovation lies in the data agility and exploration made possible by Hadoop. Businesses want immediate answers - they can't wait days or months for insight into their own data. Unless businesses can explore and interact with this data, the promise of Hadoop is lost."

Scott Weiss, an Andreessen Horowitz general partner and a Platfora board member, says, "Platfora up-ends traditional business intelligence, unlocks the potential of Hadoop and puts the power of data in the hands of the end user."

In his opinion, "The legacy BI vendors don't have the product architecture for Hadoop or Big Data and we believe this opens the door for a new franchise to be built."

Platfora was built from the ground up to present Hadoop raw data in new ways. Its key components include:

  • Unbounded In-Memory BI: Platfora's so-called Vizboards let business users build stunning interactive visualizations. Vizboards are web-based, using HTML5 canvas technology, and feature a layer for sharing and collaboration.
  • High-Performance In-Memory Data Processing Engine: Using its trademarked Fractal Cache technology, Platfora's in-memory data processing engine is natively connected with Hadoop. As the core of the platform, Fractal Cache automatically refines itself without IT's intervention.
  • Hadoop Data Refinery: The company's Adaptive Job Synthesis automatically builds MapReduce jobs and pushes them down to Hadoop to produce aggregated in-memory representations of the data.

Platfora works with existing clusters of machines running Cloudera, Amazon Web Services, MapR and Hortonworks although at the moment Cloudera appears to be its favorite. They're partnering.

Platfora, which has less than 30 people but growing, has the widgetry in beta with 10 Fortune 500s and Global 2000s and maybe the odd web company. Werther claims there's another 70-80 companies chomping at the bit to get in and use it. Once when he showed the stuff off, he got a standing ovation, a unique experience in his career. Nonetheless, the company's being methodical. The beta will be gradually expanded. And the widgetry should go GA round about February, upsetting folks like IBM and Oracle with its new take on taxonomy.

It will be licensed on a per-server basis and can be deployed on-premise in an enterprise data center or in the cloud.

Unlike other BI software, Platfora won't be priced by the number of users. Data analysts as well as business users across organizations will be able to access and interact with their data. The company's got this crazy democratizing idea about putting the data in the hands of people who need it most without complex and rigid foreplay.

Pre-Platfora, Hadoop's annual growth rate was expected to be more than 60% year-over-year according to IDC.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Although it has gained significant traction in the consumer space, IoT is still in the early stages of adoption in enterprises environments. However, many companies are working on initiatives like Industry 4.0 that includes IoT as one of the key disruptive technologies expected to reshape businesses of tomorrow. The key challenges will be availability, robustness and reliability of networks that connect devices in a business environment. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is expected to...
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...