As we've already noted, pairing Big Data with analytics is one of the best ways to derive business benefits from supersized data sets.
In our quest to find some of the most buzz-worthy Big Data apps, we've written about apps from JackBe, Accretive, Tibco Spotfire, Pentaho and ParStream. Now we look at tools from Concurrent, Birst, SAS, ClearStory Data and Terracotta.
Lingual is a free, open source project that was designed to enable fast and simple Big Data application development on Apache Hadoop. It leverages the platform support of the Cascading application framework, thereby allowing SQL users to utilize existing skills to create and run Big Data applications on Hadoop without any new training.
Cascading is the most widely used and deployed technology for building Big Data apps, with more than 75,000 user downloads a month. Those using it include eBay, TeleNav and Twitter.
"With Concurrent Lingual, companies can leverage existing skill sets and product investments by carrying them over to Hadoop," said Chris Wensel, CTO and founder of Concurrent. "Analysts and developers, familiar with traditional BI tools, can create and run Big Data applications on Hadoop."
Birst Big Data Services
Birst Big Data Services is said to be a turnkey analytics infrastructure that eliminates much of the upfront investment required to leverage Big Data. It does this by masking the complexities of managing a Hadoop infrastructure and writing MapReduce jobs. It provides pre-defined routines for MapReduce, the programming model at the heart of Hadoop, and a scripting language for distilling information from large volumes of data.
This tool integrates with Birst business intelligence so that Big Data can be analyzed, visualized and reported upon. The service is delivered over the cloud, with subscription pricing based on the number of users accessing it and the volume of stored data. The intent is to hide the complexity of MapReduce and move Big Data analysis out of data science labs and into the hands of business analysts for day-to-day operational analysis.
"Birst Big Data Services competes with infrastructure and software investments that organizations make to stand up a Big Data analytics environment," said Brad Peters, CEO at Birst. "What differentiates Birst is the fact that it is an end-to-end Big Data analytics solution, not just a Hadoop distribution with a few additional software layers on top."
SAS Visual Analytics
SAS Visual Analytics is part of the SAS High Performance Analytics portfolio. It uses an in-memory engine to speed the analytics and visualization process. This includes predictive analytics for forecasting, correlation and linear regression.
The SAS In-Memory Analytics Engine sits beneath the surface and can scale up to many terabytes. SAS Visual Analytics runs on commodity hardware. Pricing starts at around $70,000 for the software.
"SAS Visual Analytics enables creation and dissemination of dashboards, reports and the results of investigative exploration either through the Web or to native mobile applications running on an iPad or Android tablet," said Mark Torr, director of the SAS Global Center of Excellence. "We believe that we are the only vendor that has analytics in-built rather than tagged-on through call outs to other services."
Terracotta In-Genius sits on top of Terracotta’s BigMemory 4.0 in-memory data platform. It comes with event stream processing and messaging, is said to process one million event transactions per second, identify patterns and create action items based on predicted behavior. It is also certified to operate with Oracle, SAP Hana and Hadoop. The company said it facilitates microsecond communication between high-volume applications and with in-memory data stores, some up to hundreds of terabytes of data in size.
"If a retailer's Hadoop cluster figures out that people who buy orange shoes are very likely to buy blue socks when presented with that offer, well, the retailer wants its e-commerce site to start acting on that intelligence now," said Andy Raskin, senior director of Product Marketing at Terracotta. "In-Genius is all about linking enterprise intelligence to profitable action instantly."
In-Genius comes with its own analytics/dashboard capabilities, but it can also integrate with other business intelligence and analytics apps. Raskin said that In-Memory, the underlying in-memory data store for In-Genius, has already been bundled with JackBe and webMethods 9.0 from Software AG.
ClearStory Data’s Big Data analytics solution lets users discover, analyze and consume data from data sources such as relational databases, Hadoop, Web and social application interfaces, and third-party data providers. The ClearStory Data platform is said to simplify access to disparate data sources, automatically manage data harmonization and enable analysis at scale.
"With the astounding growth in external sources of data, data marketplaces and corporate data housed in new big data platforms, it’s time to make it a lot easier for business users to interactively explore and analyze information no matter where it comes from," said Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, CEO and founder of ClearStory Data.
Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).