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Hadoop isn’t easy.

Sure, there are vendors out there who will tell you that it is ... Just take this course or that exam. Work with us side-by-side as we “elephantize” your Enterprise, and presto you’re a pro.

No, you’re not.

Not yet, anyway. Regardless of what any of the 268,000 hits you get when you enter the term “Hadoop training” into Google happens to say. And it’s not that these folks are trying to mislead you — they’ve put their heads and their hearts into encouraging and enabling the widespread adoption of Hadoop.

It’s just that becoming a master at Hadoop (Wikipedia definition: open-source software framework for storage and large scale processing of data-sets on clusters of commodity hardware) takes time, experience, trial and error and enough opportunities to generate a continuous record of success. But that’s not all. As a new technology with a vibrant Open Source community, Hadoop keeps changing, so it’s hard to keep up.

Enter Altiscale

Hadoop pioneer and former Yahoo CTO Raymie Stata knows all of this. It’s why he started Altiscale, “the Hadoop Cloud Company,” whose Hadoop-as-a-Service offering becomes GA (generally available) later today.

Altiscale’s mission, according to Stata, is to provide organizations access to the only infrastructure “purpose-built” for Hadoop, as well as the operational expertise needed execute complex Hadoop projects. By monitoring both the infrastructure and the jobs, Altiscale says it will deliver unparalleled levels of service for its customers.

And when Altiscale says “unparalleled”, they mean what they say. Stata and his team are confident that there isn’t a Hadoop solution on the market that compares, be it from Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, Amazon, IBM, Savvis, CSC (Infochimps), Amazon (AWS), Rackspace, Microsoft, homegrown or any combination thereof.

“Altiscale is faster, more reliable, easier to use, and more affordable,” says Stata.

More on this later.

Designed for Customer Delight?

Altiscale’s purpose-built Hadoop Cloud features:

  • Hadoop Dialtone: Hadoop data and compute that’s always on and available. And with reliability backed by an enterprise SLA.
  •  “Infinite” Hadoop: Altiscale’s patent-pending auto-elasticity that continuously monitors data and job usage to provide exactly the capacity you need, when you need it.
  • A Proactive Hadoop Helpdesk: Altiscale’s expert team not only manages the platform but also monitors jobs to keep even the most challenging applications running smoothly. Stata says that Altiscale’s customers can think of their team of experts as their Hadoop operations team.
  • Predictable (and Competitive) Pricing: Altiscale provides its customers with predictable monthly bills, making it easier to manage budgets

If anyone can consistently deliver on Altiscale’s promises, Stata and his crew are a good bet. Consider that he and the company’s CTO, David Chaiken, nurtured the creation and oversaw the widespread adoption of Hadoop at Yahoo.  Charles Wimmer, the company’s head of operations, ran a 40,000-node, multitenant Hadoop cluster at the company. And the rest of the members of the team are no strangers to big data; though a number of them also come from Yahoo, others are from companies like Google and LinkedIn.

Dollars and Sense

Altiscale calls itself a Hadoop Cloud company and time on its Hadoop cloud is precisely what it sells you. Its monthly fixed price plans include a YARN compute allowance (in task minutes rather than nodes), HDFS storage allowance (in TB-minutes, not peak capacity), data transfer (TB per month allowance), and allows for “roll over minutes.” It’s worth noting that Altiscale augments Hadoop with Apache Hive, Pig and Oozie, and with first-class support for Python, R, and Ruby.

Comparison Shopping

While many vendors (especially in open source) shy away from talking about how they compare to competitors, Altiscale anticipates the question and shows up with a slide in its hands. It doesn’t have prices on it, mind you, but it does identify the cons of going with an alternative solution:

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Title image by Stokkete (Shutterstock).