SkyTap invites users to dip a toe into big data

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Infrastructure-as-a-service provider SkyTap is inviting customers to try out big data for free, with a new offering of Cloudera's Hadoop distribution.

While big data is all the buzz these days, it's actually difficult for businesses to learn and experiment with it, said Brett Goodwin, vice president of marketing and business development for SkyTap. That's because software like Hadoop that enables the processing of large amounts of data requires large compute clusters and can be complex to configure and network, he said.

[Feds look to big data to position 'government as a platform' and RSA betting its future on big data]

SkyTap is hoping to make it easier for customers to test big data by adding the latest Cloudera Hadoop implementation to its library. Customers can set up virtual clusters as big as 50 nodes for free. They can also take advantage of SkyTap's multi-VPN connectivity offering to connect back to the corporate network.

SkyTap is inviting customers to dip a toe into big data

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Setting up the cluster is pretty easy through the user's SkyTap dashboard. Customers can start with three nodes and add single compute nodes up to 50. Users can get into the Cloudera Web UI to manage the cluster and can share the cluster easily via a unique URL.

Goodwin expects the predominant use case will be prototyping and testing. Once users verify their implementation works, they'll move it into their production implementation or, if they don't have one, build a production Hadoop cluster.

"If you're going to run Hadoop in production, you aren't running it with a virtualization layer. Hadoop clusters are all about performance. They're running on bare metal," he said.

Even companies that have already implemented big data internally might be interested in SkyTap's offer, he said. Companies often don't want to do test and dev on a production system. "They want to make sure the new stuff is validated, that it will work, and then roll it into production," he said.

SkyTap chose the Cloudera distribution because it has the greatest adoption among Hadoop distributions, he said. If customers want additional distributions, SkyTap may add them.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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