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Platfora Launches In-Memory BI Platform

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Posted March 26, 2013 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

Analytics startup layers its technology on Hadoop to generate fast, user-friendly business visualizations.

The consumerization of Big Data trend continues apace with new software that puts Hadoop-powered analytics into the hands of rank-and-file business users.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Platfora today announced that its namesake in-memory business intelligence (BI) platform has finally launched after a six-month beta. The startup hopes to make a splash by aiming its tech squarely at the elephant in the room.

Platfora CEO and founder Ben Werther sang the praises of Hadoop, which according to his company has emerged as "the de facto operating system to store and process Big Data," in a company statement. "The promise of Hadoop and Big Data is enormous -- that companies can flow diverse data from across the enterprise into a 'data reservoir' and have business users directly and immediately derive value from it," he said.

This is easier said than done, of course. "That promise has remained elusive," Werther said.

Platfora software generates "vizboards," HTML5-based visualizations that promote collaboration among business users. Data explorers can annotate, comment and share their contributions and discoveries within a vizboard "canvas."

The platform employs the company's own Fractal Cache technology, which scales-out across multiple physical or virtual servers and leverages the power of in-memory hardware to store and process multi-terabytes worth of compressed data.

Insights are exposed using a high-performance query engine that employs "lenses," compressed-columnar representations of underlying data that follow "a Kimball-style snowflake schema with foreign key joins to other datasets," according to the company. Platfora can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud using industry-standard servers.

To ease its way into the market, Platfora is also courting the Hadoop community at large.

The company reports that it has partnered with the major Apache Hadoop distributions, namely Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR and EMC/Greenplum. Platfora also pledged to support the latest advancements in Hadoop, "including the emerging category of faster SQL-style interfaces to Hadoop."

Werther claims that when his company's technology is deployed atop Hadoop, fast, Big Data-driven business intelligence is at practically any business analyst's fingertips, regardless of expertise level.

"Our customers have seen their worlds open up to new possibilities of data analysis with our product. Platfora puts every business user directly in touch with all of this data in a visually rich and immediate way that lets them make better decisions today," he said.

In a company blog post titled “BI Is Better on Hadoop,” Werther detailed how Platfora and Hadoop work in unison to provide users with fast business insights. "Platfora uses Hadoop the way it was intended — as a batch work engine — and we built our own scalable in-memory engine designed for interactive (sub-second) response that automatically drives Hadoop to distill raw data into in-memory aggregates, while serving up lighting fast queries and a complete BI experience built native for this Hadoop stack," he wrote.

"Ying and yang, woven together to allow superb performance with a never-before-seen degree of agility to get at any Hadoop data today without waiting for an IT project," he concluded.

Platfora is available now.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the Quinstreet Enterprise Network. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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