Acunu’s quest to make big data run faster

Tim Moreton CEO of Acunu

Big data can sometimes mean big infrastructure to run everything on, which can mean slower performance as the hardware struggles to read from or write to a database at the same speed it can process the data. Some companies are tackling these issues with even more specialized databases, while others are trying to speed up access to data by adding more memory. Acunu offers a mix of both, which is why we chose it as one of our Structure 2011 Launchpad companies.

The startup wants to help improve data stores by providing an underlying file system that makes the databases run faster. It’s a layer between the database and an SSD optimized to boost performance of a particular database. The London startup, founded in May 2009 raised about 3.1 million pounds ($4.9 million) in a seed and Series A round from Eden Ventures, Oxford Technology Management and Pentech Ventures LLP. The alternative to Acunu is to add more hardware or perhaps better tune your applications — tasks that can be both expensive and time-consuming.

Tim Moreton, the CEO, explained to me that the company’s first file system optimization works for Cassandra with a second version aimed at better Hadoop integration. However, it won’t stop there because other big data stores are used for other applications, and Acunu doesn’t want to be a niche service to boost the performance of one data store. So expect support for new data stores in the coming months — although Moreton was tight-lipped about which ones — as Acunu strives to become a real platform.