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Big Data? There's an App Store for that

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Open ... and Shut A few months back Cloudera chief executive Mike Olson speculated that the real power of Hadoop "will be delivered through cloud apps vendors." This week Datameer brought Olson's vision to life, releasing a marketplace for buying and selling Big Data analytic applications. While a great deal of work remains for making Hadoop and other Big Data technologies approachable to those outside the Mensa society, Datameer's marketplace is a big step in the right direction.

After all, few companies can afford to hire a data scientist. Or several. Even if they can, Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular points out that: “Organizations already have people who know their own data better than mystical data scientists" and that "learning Hadoop is easier than learning the company’s business.”

In other words, the best person to analyze a company's data is the person who understands the company's business, and not necessarily the person who understands "data science." (Whatever that is.)

Datameer's app marketplace doesn't divorce business users from data science, but instead allows data scientists to build applications that a business user can buy…without hiring the data scientist to go with it. This is a nice compromise for those who don't know where to find the right Big Data expertise within their companies, or simply don't want to be bogged down in the internal bureaucracy that too often plagues large enterprises.

So, say I want to do brand sentiment analysis. There's an (Big Data) app for that:

Click to enlarge

Or perhaps I want to run analytics against my JIRA tickets, or my Zendesk customer support incidents, or maybe I'm looking to glean insights from my LinkedIn network, or see what my developers' GitHub activity tells me, or a number of other things. Datameer's marketplace currently has a few dozen apps, which the company expects to grow considerably as developers turn to its marketplace to tap into native Hadoop with easy, customizable formatting for end users.

There is no question that Hadoop and its Big Data technology cousins are here to stay. What remains in question is just how mere mortals can leverage these tools. Datameer seems to be onto something here. It still has a lot to do to convince developers to build apps for the marketplace, as well as a fair amount of work to help make these apps rich in their analytics capabilities without overwhelming the user. At present some of the apps feel more like toys than serious business tools.

But this is 1.0 of the marketplace, and if Datameer's past success in making Hadoop easy to use is any indication, Datameer Application Marketplace's evolution will be worth watching. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Nodeable, offering systems management for managing and analysing cloud-based data. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.

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