Give a dozen Fortune 100 CIO’s a few scotches (or truth serum if they don’t drink), then ask them how many Big Data Apps they’re running. The likely answer will be “not a one.” 

Ask why, and they’ll start weaving tales about how the Hadoop graphic should be a whale rather than an elephant and how frustrated they are in playing the role of Captain Ahab. (And then they’ll ask whether I know anyone who can help them reel in the damn fish? And, for the record, the answer is yes.)

What they’re also dying to know is whether any Enterprises, outside of Silicon Valley, are actually running Big Data Apps at all.

Though many Hadoop distribution vendors (like Cloudera, HortonWorks, EMC Greenplum and MapR) would answer that question “yes” and point to a number of client examples,chances are that few of those in production are at brick and mortar firms. The common consensus among CIOs, at this moment, is that unless you have the money, the projects, and the means to attract the world’s most brilliant engineers, Big Data Apps aren't going to happen at your company anytime soon, regardless of how badly you want them.

Democratizing Big Data 

This no longer needs to be the case, says Todd Papaioannou, Founder and CEO of Continuuity, a well-funded, well-staffed start-up that aims to democratize the development of Big Data Apps. He and his all-star development team (they’re alumni of companies like Facebook, Yahoo!, Greenplum, Klout and the like) have built the industry’s first Big Data Application Fabric on which Java developers can build Big Data applications via simple APIs and reusable building blocks, rather than complex, error prone, command lines.

Think of Continuuity as a Next Generation application server, the Weblogic or JBoss of the Big Data age,” says Papaioannou. “We make it fast and easy for any developer to build, deploy, scale and manage Big Data apps.”

The Continuuity AppFabric is an elastically scalable Big Data application hosting fabric that runs in the Cloud or on your existing HBase/Hadoop cluster. It supports:

  • Drag and drop deployment of Big Data Applications, Data Sets and Queries
  • Elastic scalability of compute/processing resources at runtime, requiring no down time of your cluster ( click ‘+’ button )
  • REST APIs and simple programming interfaces for real-time event ingestion, real-time analytics and online queries from the data fabric
  • A higher level developer API for the distributed data fabric ( e.g. fabric.write( ) )
  • Management of applications through rich visual interfaces.

Papaioannou says that the platform is being seeded with Data Sets (think Hibernate for Big Data) and SDKs (think Spring for Big Data).

Check Out Continuuity for Free

At O’Reilly’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara today, Continuuity encouraged developers to check out the Continuuity Developer Suite and Continuuity Developer Sandbox for themselves. They are now in public beta.

Delivered as a cloud Platform as a Service ( PaaS), the Continuuity AppFabric is an application runtime and data platform. It sits on top of open source Hadoop components. Enabling rapid application deployment, monitoring and elastic scalability, the Continuuity AppFabric allows customers to focus on their applications, not complex infrastructure. Coupled with the Developer Suite, Continuuity covers the full end-to-end application development lifecycle.

It consists of a free, downloadable, single node edition of the fully functional Continuuity AppFabric and a fully-featured SDK with IDE plugins, pre-built Dataset patterns to make data modeling and manipulation easy. It allows developers to build applications in their IDE, run, test and debug them on their local machines, and when ready, “push to cloud” with a single click.

Learning Opportunities

The Continuuity Developer Sandbox is a free, self-service instance of the Continuuity AppFabric that developers can use to deploy, manage and monitor their applications in the cloud, allowing users to experience the end-to-end Continuuity product suite. When ready to take an application to production, developers can chose either the Continuuity Virtual Private Cloud Edition (a single tenant, hosted virtual private cloud) or the Continuuity On-Premise Edition (software layered on top of an existing Hadoop deployment), both currently in private beta.

“Continuuity takes the pain away,” says Papaioannou.

The team of developers who built Continuuity knows how difficult it can be to create the infrastructure required for Big Data apps, they experienced it first hand while doing so at their previous employers all of which had huge teams of highly-skilled, well-schooled engineers.

It’s an ugly hurdle to clear, and Continuuity does that for you.

According to Papaioannou, Continuuity takes 80 percent of the hard stuff away from developers and lets them concentrate on the 20 percent that’s specific to their business. It’s a formula that should work for everyone.

“Ultimately, customers want to pay for and create business value, rather than infrastructure,” says Papaioannou. 

To get the Continuuity Developer Edition and Developer Sandbox, visit: