AtScale opens Hadoop's big-data vaults to nonexpert business users

New platform enables Hadoop analyses from within standard BI tools such as Microsoft Excel

When it comes to business intelligence, most enterprise users are intimately acquainted with tools such as Microsoft Excel. They tend to feel less comfortable with data-management technologies like Hadoop -- despite the considerable insights such tools could offer.

Enter AtScale, a startup that on Tuesday emerged from stealth with a new offering designed to designed to put those capabilities within closer reach. The AtScale Intelligence Platform is designed to enable interactive, multidimensional analyses on Hadoop from within standard BI tools such as Microsoft Excel, Tableau Software or QlikView, without the need for any data movement, custom drivers or a separate cluster.

"Today, millions of information workers could derive value from Hadoop, but their organizations have not been able to empower them to do so, either because their current toolset doesn't work natively with Hadoop or because IT doesn't have the tools to provision them with secure, self-service access," said Dave Mariani, AtScale's founder and CEO.

In essence, AtScale's platform aims to give business users the ability to analyze in real time the entirety of their Hadoop data -- tapping Hadoop SQL engines like Hive, Impala and Spark SQL -- using the BI tools they are already familiar with. In that way, its intent is similar in many ways to that of Oracle, which recently unveiled new big-data tools of its own for nonexperts.

AtScale's software strives to make big-data analytics accessible in several ways. Its cube designer, for instance, converts Hadoop into interactive OLAP cubes with full support for arrays, structs and non-scalars, enabling complex data to be converted into measures and dimensions that anyone can understand and manage, the company says.

"We have a community of more than 110 million users and a massive amount of data about how people play our games," said Craig Fryar, head of business intelligence at Wargaming, creator of online game World of Tanks. "Our cluster stores billions of events that we can now easily explore in just a few clicks."

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