Crashing the BI party

BI startup Platfora leaps out of beta, with Hadoop partners in tow

Chris Mayer

They might be late to the dance, but Platfora’s Hadoop-preaching BI solution looks to be worth the wait.

The emergence of business intelligence startups in recent
months hasn’t gone under the radar. The likes of Precog and
ClearStory jumped early with their solutions designed to bridge the
gap to big data. Now another has exited its lengthy beta

Although late to
the party, Platfora is a comparative veteran. Founded in early
2011, the team chose to bide their time, developing for two years
before yesterday’s GA launch.

Platfora’s take on analytics is
use Hadoop as a batch engine, whilst
Platfora provides the analytical insight. Platfora then extracts
insight from raw data rather than relying upon established
warehousing projects such as Hive.
Results are then
displayed using an interactive web-based interface.

The company’s hesitancy to release early might
seem counter-intuitive
in the face of the industry’s
pervasive MVP culture
. However,
their gestation period has allowed them to monitor the
progression of Hadoop over that time, from a “poor man’s data
warehouse” to “near infinite data reservoir”
to CEO Ben Werther

Platfora’s extended development
phase has also
provided time to broker
deals with four big Hadoop vendors, Cloudera, MapR, EMC/Greenplum
and Hortonworks, which could prove crucial in attracting potential

This is despite three of the four expressing a
desire to push their distributions further, with new
analytic-focused projects in Cloudera Impala, MapR’s Apache Drill
and the Stinger Initiative at Hortonworks.

Platfora’s VP of Marketing, Peter Schlampp, said
the company has a great symbiotic relationship” with all three
companies. “They provide the underlying storage and raw processing
power for big data, and we provide the ‘intelligence layer’ on
he said in a
company blogpost

“Our customers want to know that they will be
able to take advantage of the rapid advancements in Hadoop, and we
ensure that. Going forward, Platfora will continue to invest in
supporting the latest technology in the Hadoop ecosystem, including
the emerging category of faster SQL-style interfaces to

Platfora’s intentions to bring business intelligence packaged
direct to those using Hadoop in production could be the
differentiator it needs to make up on lost time. Products such as
Splunk already off Hadoop connectors, but Platfora’s decision to
place Hadoop at the centre of their strategy from the start might
give them the edge.

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