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WANdisco plunges into the Hadoop foam party, shakes its replication booty

'This 6ft-4 Indian guy in hotpants is a friggin GENIUS'

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WANdisco is bringing continuous wide-area availability to Hadoop big data users.

The joint UK and US-based WANdisco (Wide Area Network DIStributed COmputing) sells software producing active-active data centres at WAN distances, which it says is suited to the Hadoop Big Data world. Its technology uses patented algorithms invented by co-founder Dr Yeturu Aahlad, an ex-Sun distributed systems architect and IBM researcher.

Richards described meeting Aahlad in an Elite Business interview:

"I was introduced to Dr Yeturu Aahlad at this cocktail party. He’s this 6ft 4 Indian guy, with inordinately long legs, who was wearing what I rudely described as hot pants and a t-shirt from a trade show. Nobody else was dressed like that in the room ... of course, he’s a genius.”

Aahlad's patented software replicates data between data centres in real time, active-active replication. This provides good server failover between different data centres, as the servers involved are mirrors of each other, providing continuous availability - as WANdisco describes it. It also makes multi-location collaboration better.

When a new server/server set joins in the replication scheme there is initial load of the new system, with metadata first and then data - unless you Fedex disks across to/from the new centre. Once the metadata has been loaded then the actual data follows. When a data request for unloaded data occurs, that will bring that data to the head of the transmit queue.

This software can use WAN optimisers like Riverbed's Steelhead to drive the links it uses even faster.

The server mirroring provides continuous backup across sites for non-stop data recovery. HP's purchase of this product to help in then-CIO Randy Mott's data centre consolidation exercise, with 83 data centres becoming six, gave WANdisco some credibility and confidence in its tech.

The customer list includes Apple, Barclays, Cisco, Disney, and Intel alongside HP, which is WANdisco's largest client with 50,000 users throughout the company.

Richards took WANdisco public in 2012, doing so on AIM at the London Stock Exchange, eschewing US alternatives. The float raised £15 million with the company valued at £37 million; seemingly small potatoes in these days of multi-billion dollar valuations. WANdisco is not a typical Silicon Valley, venture-funded startup.

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Next page: History. In a pot

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