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News, Topics and Opinions on Information Technology

As I noted in two previous posts here and here, one thing we at IT Specialist want to bring to our audience is information on what we believe are startups bringing innovative solutions to the market in the IT space. While it's not fair to see that startups are the only types of firms capable of bringing innovative new technology or products to the market, small and nimble companies are able to focus and turn on a dime in the way that larger and more established corporations generally cannot. In that regard, given all of the ways in which Big Data is changing our world, this post will highlight startups in this space that are worth knowing.

Hadoop is Only as Good as the Apps that run on it - Continuuity provides a tool for developers to write Big Data apps

As anyone following the Big Data revolution must surely be aware, the main platform general-purpose computing platform that is the foundation for Big Data is Hadoop. Interestingly enough, Hadoop was initially developed at Yahoo, and now pretty much any company that is analyzing large quantities of data is using Hadoop to do so. What Continuuity does is provide a platform that allows software developers to actually design their own Big Data apps on top of Hadoop. Continuuity's mission in a nutshell  is to "democratize" the ability to write Big Data applications. Continuuity's "AppFabric" sits on top of Hadoop components, and provides an easy to use, Cloud-based UI that allows for the development of new Big Data applications. For a good overview of what Continuuity provides for developers, check out this article from CMS Wire 

Platfora Plots a BI Coup 

As much as everyone talks about "Big Data" as a revolution in IT, let's not forget that the purpose of Big Data is to provide organizations access and insights to information and patterns that were not previously accessible. If you think of Big data as the raw inputs, then look at Business Intelligence - BI - as the concrete outputs from Big Data. If Continuuity wants to make Big Data app development easier, then Platfora's mission to make that actual BI output of BIG data significantly easier to produce and understand. Platfora recently raised $20 million to continue their development of what they describe as a next generation BI engine that sits on top of the Hadoop platform. Platfora believes it's fast, easy to use BI platform is poised to take huge chunks of market share from the traditional BI vendors such as Oracle and Teradata. Platfora's mission statement is to provide "Unlimited BI on Hadoop", and it's PDF summary states that Plafora "instantly transforms raw data in Hadoop into interactive, in-memory business intelligence with none of the friction or complexity of traditional approaches." - Democratizing Machine Learning is a firm that makes Machine Learning more readily available to data scientists and app developers. It was founded by a number of PHD's in fields such as astronomy, computer science and statistics. At a high level, allows companies such as eCommerce firms to take massive amounts of data and then using the solution to crunch that data in minutes. The actual output of's solution? Actionable intelligence for corporations that is based on the huge amounts of data these firms possess, but which they previously had no idea how to apply. If you want to get an overview of, you can listen to their CEO Josh Bloom speak at a recent developer conference in San Francisco.

If you're interested in additional information on innovative technology startups, here are additional resources:

An Update from the B2B Startup World

Two Startup Acquisitions and What They Mean 

Four Startups Bringing Unique Innovations to the Cloud Computing Market

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