Big Data Startup Sqrrl Raises $2M, Focuses on Security Challenges
Updated · Aug 20, 2012
Sqrrl, a Big Data startup that specializes in software based on Apache Accumulo, an open source data storage and retrieval system, has attracted $2 million in initial funding from Atlas Ventures and Matrix Partners. The Sqrrl team will move from Washington D.C. to Boston to grow the company.
Befitting its founders’ credentials, the startup puts a premium on securing Big Data by leveraging the Apache Accumulo platform. They are no strangers to the little-known technology.
Sqrrl’s founders include CEO Oren J. Falkowit, who worked on computer networks and Big Data for the Department of Defense at the National Security Agency. Co-founders include COO Ely Kahn, who served as director of Cybersecurity Strategy for the White House’s National Security Staff, and CTO Adam Fuchs, who also worked for the NSA and cofounded the Apache Accumulo project.
Not familiar with Accumulo? “Accumulo is the best database that you have never heard of,” writes Chris Lynch, an Atlas Ventures partner, in a blog post.
“This is due to the fact that Accumulo has been shrouded in secrecy within the US Intelligence Community until very recently, when the National Security Agency open sourced Accumulo to the Apache Foundation,” Lynch says.
Accumulo, which is based on Google’s BigTable design, is a distributed key/value store built atop Apache Hadoop, Zookeeper and Thrift. The secure database technology, which offers fine-grained, cell-level access control, got its start behind the secretive security agency before it was released to the open source foundation.
Lynch believes that Sqrrl is poised to topple some of the daunting security challenges that are holding Big Data projects back. “Sqrrl and Accumulo are differentiated in that they are the only company that can offer cell-level security along with high performance and robust analytics,” he writes. “These cell-level security features will be extremely important to regulated industries, security conscious organizations, and companies with strong privacy requirements.”
Not surprisingly, Sqrrl is targeting industries with high regulatory and data security requirements like energy, finance, healthcare and of course, government, although its technology is suitable for any organization that desires a scalable (multi-petabyte), real-time Big Data analytics platform, says the company. Sqrrl’s Accumulo implementation integrates with popular corporate authentication and access control technologies including PKI, Kerberos and LDAP.