Mark October 2012 on your big data calendar, because this might be the month we redefine what Hadoop is. Is it a MapReduce framework for heavy-duty batch processing? Yes. But can it also be the engine of high-speed, interactive analytics products that look to do for unstructured data what massively parallel analytic databases do for structured data? As it turns out, the answer might be “yes” again.
There certainly are a number of companies trying to prove this contention, this week alone. On Tuesday, it was Hadapt improving on its native Hadoop-plus-SQL architecture and adding advanced analytic functions and tight Tableau integration. On Wednesday, it’s Teradata, Birst and startup Splice Machine getting into the act.
Birst: Birst has been making a concerted effort to establish itself as a legitimate BI company by building a suite of on-premise offerings, but it’s moving back to the cloud with a new big data service built atop Hadoop. Essentially, Birst Big Data Services lets companies store unstructured and semi-structured data and then analyze it on the fly using packaged functions that don’t require knowledge of MapReduce or other complex methods. Because it’s Birst, the new service connects to structured relational data stored within Birst’s flagship service and brings visualization tools to new data types.