Former Yahoo Cloud Chief Aims to Ease Hadoop Development

Sean Michael

Updated · Oct 23, 2012

Todd Papaioannou knows a thing or two about Hadoop. The former chief cloud architect at Yahoo, Papaioannou is now leading a new startup called Continuuity.

Continuuity's aim is to make the benefits of the Hadoop framework available to folks other than data scientists. The key, according to Papaioannou, is making it easier for enterprise application developers to build apps leveraging Hadoop.

“We think the next wave in the Big Data market is going to be application development. So far, we've seen companies in the infrastructure layer like Cloudera and Hortonworks, but we think that as the market evolves what will be needed are applications,” he said. “Ultimately customers want to pay for business value and insight. They don't want to pay for infrastructure; they want applications.”

Next Gen Development

His tenure at Yahoo gave Papaioannou clear ideas about how applications can be built to enable Hadoop Big Data. Even at Yahoo, it was not easy for developers to build Hadoop applications. Continuuity is aiming to lower the barriers to entry with a technology it calls the Continuuity Application Fabric (AppFabric), essentially a layer that sits on top of the underlying Hadoop infrastructure.

“You can think of it as a next generation application server,” Papaioannou said. “It's an application hosting and server container and is purpose built to sit on top of a scale-out data infrastructure.”

From an integration perspective, Continuuity supports REST interfaces. Papaioannou explained that developers can build applications and then just drag and drop them onto the Continuuity user interface. The AppFabric system then handles all the underlying resources and runs the application.

Open Source Angle

The core Hadoop technology is all open source, though many vendors in the Big Data community are now layering proprietary technology on top of it. Continuuity plans to release its real-time processing framework as open source, though it isn't open source today. In addition, technology Continuuity built on top of the YARN management framework will also be released as open source.

“We plan to open source some of our software, we're all open source guys here,” Papaioannou said. “We also want to make money, so the higher level AppFabric technology is stuff we will charge money for.”

The first release coming from Continuuity is free. The Continuuity Developer Framework is a single node edition of the AppFabric, along with a Software Development Kit (SDK). The company also has a Private Cloud Edition, currently in private beta, and a full Public Cloud Edition in development.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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    Sean Michael

    Sean Michael is a writer who focuses on innovation and how science and technology intersect with industry, technology Wordpress, VMware Salesforce, And Application tech. TechCrunch Europas shortlisted her for the best tech journalist award. She enjoys finding stories that open people's eyes. She graduated from the University of California.

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