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SiSense Nabs $10M by Thinking Small for Big Data Analytics

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Posted April 3, 2013 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

The startup sidesteps Hadoop clusters and pricey in-memory systems to crunch Big Data with standard server hardware.


Redwood Shores, Calif.-based SiSense, a maker of business intelligence software, announced this week it raised $10 million in a Series B round of funding. Battery Ventures led the round, which also enjoyed the backing of Opus Capital and Genesis Partners.

The company has made a name for itself by eschewing complex Hadoop clusters and costly in-memory analytics solutions for its SiSense Prism offering. Instead, the company targets the Big Data environments that fall into the "terabyte range" — most businesses have 0.5 to 100 terabytes of data, according to SiSense — and relies on its own Elasticube technology to coax out business insights from relatively modest IT hardware.

The secret lies in some novel ways of exploiting server resources and 64-bit microarchitectures to enable Big Data analytics on commodity hardware, revealed SiSense's vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Bruno Aziza, in a blog post.

"On the software side, our columnar database technology allows us to store and compress data so we can efficiently make use of machine capacity fully. Beyond storage, SiSense analytical power is very efficient at querying data. Our kernel runs in machines' CPUs and leverages the speed of L1 cache (about 50X faster than RAM)," wrote Aziza.

As a result, organizations can analyze 10 terabytes of data in less than 10 seconds on a $10,000 server — a feat the company calls the 10X10X10 Challenge. "We can do this on ANY Windows-based machine," boasted Aziza. For reference, the company spent $8,200 on a Dell PowerEdge R720 server with 160GB or RAM to showcase its tech at the recent O'Reilly Strata Conference.

Moreover, the product includes practically all the components to generate and visualize Big Data derived.

"Users get additional benefits from the fact that SiSense Prism is an end-to-end solution," informed Aziza. "It contains a database, ETL [extraction, transform, load] and visualizations in one box.  This obviously yields deployment and cost benefits for customers, but it also results in better perform up and down the solution."

SiSense Prism can automatically extract data from applications like Salesforce.com and Google analytics, as well as all major databases, including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL. It comes bundled with a Web-based visualization engine powered by HTML5 and JavaScript.

The additional funds arrive just in time to help the company keep up with the intense interest in its products. SiSense reports that subscription revenues have grown 520 percent during the past year. Customers include startups like Wix and Uber, as well as big established companies like Target and Merck.

Over the past year alone, SiSense subscription revenues grew 520%, winning customers in 49 countries and a stream of accolades, most recently the Audience Choice award at the O'Reilly Strata Big Data Conference.

SiSense will use the investment to meet the expanding demand for its solution. "We are experiencing exponential sales growth and incredible buzz in the market — it is time to step on the accelerator. Our biggest challenge right now is growing the sales force and the support teams quickly enough to keep up with the demand," admitted SiSense CEO Amit Bendov in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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