Databricks joins Amazon and Google for providing Big Data Analytics on Cloud

Today at Spark Summit, Databricks CEO, Ion Stoica , announced its first product that is DatabricksCloud. This was one among two important announcements from Databricks today. The first one was that Databricks got series B round of funding 33M from Andreeseen Horowitz. But IMO the availability of DatabricksCloud is more significant.

A few months back, I had an opportunity of have teleconference with Ion. During the discussion, while talking on business model, he emphasized more on Databricks’s Spark certification service. He was (rightly though) ambiguous on other developments and business model. After the call, I discussed with a colleague about a possible product around IDE for programmers and data scientists and monitoring of Spark clusters. But what we saw today was much better.

Databricks Cloud has put Apache Spark on Cloud. Big Data on Cloud is not a new thing. However, what Databricks has provided is an interactive, SQL based Web tool for Data Scientists to play with data and visually see the output in different forms like trends, charts, etc. It also provides a powerful WYSIWYG dashboard builder.

With making Spark and Spark streaming available on Cloud, Databricks joins Google and Amazon, both of them have streaming services with analytic stack available on cloud for building real time analytics and dashboard. However, the key difference is that Amazon and Google built those services for programmers to write streaming applications. In contrast, Databricks Cloud is more suitable for Data scientists.

Databricks Cloud has web based interactive tool , called Databricks Notebook. Though the details of the technology it built on is not yet available (in fact Databricks website is still silence on the announcement), the concept and look & feel is astonishingly similar to ipython’s Notebook. And name is similar too!! Is it reusing the Rich client from iPython’s Notebook? Of course, it also seems to be different. A few big differences are: the Databricks Notebook heavily demonstrates the power of using SQL on data. It also make the power of machine learning available to the data scientists. Anyway, looking forward to get to see more details about the service, and pricing.

Anyway, for last couple of months, I was exploring a business viability of Spark Analytics as a Service on Cloud. It just got killed! Good that it happened earlier than later 🙂


Blog on Intense Patent War in Mobile and Now in Social Media

Here is my blog on the intense patent war: This week Yahoo sued Facebook for violating 10 very foundational patents for social media / online ads.

Last week, a mobile patents proxy of Microsoft sued Apple for patent infringment

Apple and Samsung have patents suits against each other.

Oracle is after google for Java patent violations in Google.

Microsoft is getting paid of about $5 per Android Mobile device sold by HTC

and the list goes on and on…

Patents are becoming core to business strategy for defense, attack as well as to make money.

Thats why, Google bought Motorola Mobility, Microsoft + Apple consoritum bough Novell patents to arm them up..



Now, Microsoft Wins Patent Against Motorola Mobility (Acquired by Google)

Close to the hills of Apple’s patent win againsts HTC (Android) ( about which I blogged yesterday), now Microsoft scored a patent victory against Motorola Mobility which is now part of Google.   As per ITC Judge’s ruling  , Motorola violates four claims in patent number 6,370,566 related to meeting requests and group scheduling. In such event, one has to either backout products violating the patents or pay technology license fees. Microsoft does enter into such agreements however it is interesting to see what would Google do. May be work around the solution?


Patents Ruling Mobile War

Apple got a victory today in a patent court over HTC. Its about tapping a phone number in an email or any content (e.g. web page may have a contact number of a vendor) to call or add in contact number. From HTC it is a small UI fix. However, removing such feature would pose an usability issue to HTC and indirectly to Android. 

Here is the ruling:

It seems that Apple has many such patents which when pressed against Android can create a competitive barrier. 

This year has been interesting from patents point of view. Apple and Microsoft ganged up to by Nortells patent portfolio at billions. Then, the corneded Google bought Motorolla mobility especially for the patents. On other wise, there is a patent war going between Samsung and Apple of Samsung Galaxy.

Google Launches Its First Google Store Chrome Zone

Google launched its first Google “Retail” store!

It is not where we could have expected ! Its not in the Silicon Valley where Google and Apple are. Its not in New York. But it is in London UK.

The launch itself is a very quiet launch!  No major hoopla, dance, music! CEO or key execs launching it and waking a game changer announcement.

In this Chrome Zone, one can tryout Google’s Chrome for now. May be other devices would be added later.

As per London’s Evening Standard, Arvind Desikan, Google UK’s head of consumer marketing at Google UK said: “People will be able to go in and have a play with the devices. We want to see whether people understand what this device is all about and monitor their reaction when they try it out,” Desikan is quoted in London’s Evening Standard as saying.

It seems that the current focus is on Chrome. May be to give much needed boost to the lackluster uptake of Chrome. According to Mr. Desikan, the company had “found anecdotally that when people tried the [Chromebook] and played with it, that made a huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about”.

Is Google following the foot steps of Apple with its launch of the first retail Google store ? May be it is just experimenting. At least not doing what and how Apple did with its retail stores all over US and other countries. Remember that Apple launched one of the biggest store in China last year (Jul 2010).

Here is a pic of the huge lines outside the Apple Store:

Cloud Based Services Outages Becoming An Issue

Last week was a bad week for Microsoft and Google Cloud apps. Microsoft’s online services infrastructure experienced outage affecting some customers in North America online. It caused interruptions in Office 365 and various Windows Live services for a few hours. Coincidently on the same day, Google’s cloud productivity service, Google Docs, went offline for some time.

Google on the outages: The [Google Docs] outage was caused by a change designed to improve real time collaboration within the document list,Unfortunately this change exposed a memory management bug which was only evident under heavy usage … We have assembled a list of steps which will both reduce the chance of a future event, decrease the time required to notice and resolve a problem, and limit the scope which any single problem can affect.

Microsoft on the outage: Microsoft became aware of a Domain Name Service (DNS) problem causing service degradation for multiple cloud-based services, A tool that helps balance network traffic was being updated, and for a currently unknown reason, the update did not work correctly. As a result, the configuration was corrupted, which caused service disruption. We are continuing to review the incident.

Amazon: Few months back, Amazon had faced similar outages. In the second week of Aug, Amazon EC2 and RDS outage had impacted Netflix. In the month of April, Amazon had hit with serious outages for which Amazon had to apologize.

Solution? so far, the outages are low and quickly addressed. so, this outages are an issue that is being discussed but so far not adversely affecting adaption of cloud . However, it does raise a need to come up with a solution to mitigate such risk. Standardizations of cloud platform and having a standby on private cloud or secondary provider could be possible solution.

Google Boosts Local Information Related Portfolio Enabling Social and Local Commerce

While cutting down few projects in last few weeks, Google is adding new armour in its portfolio. Last week it bought Zave Networks for deals and coupons . Today, Google bought Zagat which provides reviews mainly on restaurants. This is a bad news for Yelp which is preparing for IPO. Google tried to buy Yelp at 500 million however it was rejected. Since then there are ups and down relationship between them. For example, Google added Yelp results in local searches however it added its Google Places related button in the results such a way the user would go to Google places. Yelp had complained about it. Now, Google added Zagat for reviews and ratings. As per Zagat’s blog, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. It has more than 350,000 surveyors. Zagat established in 1979 and went through different market and focus. It has been trying to encash this new value of social and crowd intelligence. It had put up itself for sell at around $200 million but it seems that it is sold under 60million. It is still a huge amount. Especially when the real value is coming from its content that is populated freely by public. Content is the king! Big Data Zindabad!

Anyway, back to Google! With Google places, Google Reviews (Zagat) and Google Offers + Google Deals (Zavo), google is now positioned much better in completing its local services. With mobile apps, it can very well provide local contextual searches – offers – and of course, advertisements! and make money.

With Google APIs for various these services and possibly Google widgets , Google would be able to help in mobile, local, and social commerce.