Big Data Progress Requires Better Development Tools

“Big data for the masses” is a popular rallying cry among people who see the complexity of Hadoop and related tools as an impediment to a data-driven nirvana. A recent Wikibon survey of big data vendors and service providers shows that companies’ technical staff often lack the training to manage the notoriously complex Hadoop effectively.
But rather than training more Hadoop experts, enterprises should focus on getting better tools to help their developers build big data apps, says Jonathan Gray, CEO and cofounder of Continuuity, a two-year-old startup with an app development platform designed specifically for Hadoop. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has 30 employees, two-thirds of whom are engineers.
“We’re a Hadoop-focused company. What makes us different from everyone else is that we’re a developer-focused company,” Gray told InformationWeek in a phone interview. “We’ve built middleware, or an application server, on top of Hadoop.”
Before cofounding Continuuity with Nitin Motgi (formerly of Yahoo) in late 2011, Gray was a software engineer at Facebook, where he was an early adopter of Hadoop who steered the company’s HBase engineering efforts. The pair’s mission was to make it easier for developers to build and manage Hadoop apps.

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