Platfora, the San Mateo, Calif.-based startup that helped spur a general rethinking of business intelligence for a big data world, is finally exiting its beta period and is generally available. It’s no wonder the company has garnered so much attention given its stated mission to make Hadoop an interactive experience and to disrupt a multi-billion-dollar data warehouse and BI market.
Unlike legacy BI applications that generally connect to Hadoop but otherwise retain their old-school performance limitations, Platfora and its ilk have big data at their core. Platfora is built on Hadoop for scale, but the company also has its own IP around in-memory processing to improve the speed of slicing and dicing through data, and its HTML5 interface provides an easy way to navigate through lots of data points.
I’ve compared this general family of products — in which I’d also include ClearStory, Precog, SiSense and Birst, among others I’m sure — to Tableau, albeit slightly (sometimes significantly) rethought and then jacked up on steroids to handle big data scale and/or speed. The big difference with Platfora, though, is that it’s built on top of Hadoop and is therefore part of an even bigger movement around that open source platform and a quest to build native SQL queries into a system designed for MapReduce.