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Big Data for Business Analysts: How IT Can Deliver With Hadoop and Platfora

Today Platfora announced their first GA release of their in-memory BI platform built over Hadoop. If you've been thinking about how to leverage big data in your company - how to deliver and support business analysts with big data analysis capabilities - this may be a fast, effective route to some big value.

Squeezing value out of data is a competitive process. The more value you can extract faster, the better you can compete in your target market. This competition is what really drives recent trends to extract value out of the new "big data". Extracting value from big data was not cost-effective and often not even possible with common IT data processing architectures based on scale-up computing and relational databases.

Traditional BI solutions always required long lead times to develop ETL workflows and evolve data warehouses even over relational data. When looking at vast volumes and varieties of new big data, traditional BI approaches just can't keep up.   (As I was quoted in Justin Kern's Information Management article on Platfora)

Recent projects like Hadoop, fundamentally a commodity approach to scale-out computing and storage, have matured into commercially viable ways to unlock value from that "big data". Early adopters include web 2.0 companies and the largest of enterprises who have had both the budget and staffing depth to capitalize on the opportunity. Yet this leaves the vast majority of IT organizations to struggle with difficult functional programming (MapReduce) and large scale data management issues when they attempt to deliver big data based analytical services to their lines of business.
The potential value of Platfora is that it could instantly change the game of big data analysis for a wide swath of the IT enterprise market. Platfora leverages Hadoop's big data capabilities under the hood, layering on an intelligent and automatic self-service business intelligence analysis environment.

Platfora's secret weapon here is that they enable a business analyst to interactively explore, extend, and redefine their data interests (what Platfora calls a "lens") without requiring an explicit IT data model or data warehouse ETL workflow be developed or modified. Behind the scenes, Platfora works from the analysts interests to create and maintain an in-memory cache that is self-updating from the larger Hadoop data store. The result is a fast and agile solution that enables an incredibly interactive analysis capability. This would be impressive over a traditional analytical database, but over Hadoop it enables analyzing all the various volumes and varieties of big data.
Platfora promises to provide both analytical agility and effectiveness over big data. And help IT organizations of all sizes deliver high value data analysis services easily to their lines of business. We certainly hope that solutions like Platfora unlock incredible amounts of innovation and creativity that today is stifled by rigid and expensive BI approaches.

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  • Premiered: 03/26/13
  • Author: Mike Matchett
Topic(s): Big Data Platfora Business Intelligence


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