Start-up helps enterprises leverage Google's secret sauce

The trade press repeatedly documents enterprises' continual struggle with the problem of not only storing--but strategically using--vast amounts of corporate data that sometimes measures in the terabyte and even petabyte range. But when you think about it, that problem's already been solved. Google's been efficiently analyzing huge, farflung stores of information and retrieving golden nuggets of data for years, using its own internal technologies. And now, start-up Cloudera--run by former Google, Yahoo and Facebook execs--is offering to provide similar prowess to enterprises. The best part? It's free.

Cloudera just released its first product--Cloudera's Distribution for Hadoop--and it promises to put Google's secret sauce right in enterprise hands. Hadoop is a Google-inspired open source technology that mimics Google's internal file system and MapReduce technology. Just like within Google, Hadoop lets information stored across thousands of cheap servers be leveraged and queried, quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Cloudera's distribution offers some key enterprise features, including: * Good documentation, * A Configurator for Hadoop that helps enterprises generate optimized configuration files for their particular clusters, and * Special instructions for running the distribution on Amazon's EC2.

And all of that comes free of charge. Cloudera says it hopes to make its mark--and its money--providing enterprise-level support for the system, including best practices, design reviews, operational support, performance audits and issue resolution.

Cloudera says it's initially targeting certain enterprise applications, including biotech firms that need to analyze genomes and protein data or oil and gas firms sifting through huge piles of reservoir data. But the technology is sure to appeal to even more mainstream businesses. Today's enterprises find that their storage needs are increasing exponentially due to the need for regulatory compliance--think Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA--or legal issues. Up until now, that data storage was basically a financial sinkhole. But imagine if enterprises could efficiently leverage all that data in forced storage to provide a return via new insights, efficient reactions to rapidly changing business cycles or just better customer marketing. Pretty cool.

Learn more about the distribution, the rollout, training opportunities and more on Cloudera's website.

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