I chatted with Todd Papaioannou about his new company Continuuity. Todd is as handy at combining buzzwords as he is at concatenating vowels, and so Continuuity — with two “U”s — is making a big data fabric platform as a service with REST APIs that runs over Hadoop and HBase in the private or public clouds. I found the whole thing confusing, in that:
- I recoil against buzzwords. In particular …
- … I pay as little attention to distinctions among PaaS/IaaS/WaaS — Platform/Infrastructure/Whatever as a Service — as I can.
- The Continuuity story sounds Heroku-like, but Todd doesn’t want Continuuity compared to Heroku.
- Todd does want Continuuity discussed in terms of the application server category, but:
- It is hard to discuss app servers without segueing quickly amongst development, deployment, and data connectivity, and Continuuity is no exception to that rule.
- There is doubt as to whether using app servers makes any sense.
But all confusion aside, there are some interesting aspects to Continuuity.
Continuuity company basics include:
- Founded a year ago with $2.5 million in seed money.
- Big name investors, advisors, and so on, including a couple founders of app server pioneer Weblogic.
- “Private Cloud” version in private beta.
- “Public Cloud” version following apace.
Continuuity’s software wants to be in the same cluster as Hadoop, optionally on the same nodes. Beyond that, its technology story starts:
- Java everything.
- Aggressive use of Hadoop, including newer capabilities such as YARN and MapReduce 2.
- APIs on top of HBase, including ones that make it look like various kinds of specialized data manager:
- Text search.
- Time series (based on OpenTSDB, naturally).
- Table of counters (for real-time streaming).
- Some pretty elastic deployment features.
- Hooks to Eclipse.
Also included is a durable alternative to Storm or S4 for handling input streams, running in the same stack as everything else.
Continuuity’s (current?) application focus is on “closed-loop” customer intelligence apps — I presume in human real-time — much as might be the case for WibiData (to which Continuuity views itself as potentially complementary rather than competitive). This could include rescoring of predictive models (but of course not remodeling). While we didn’t get into much detail, Todd’s views of the demands there didn’t sound inconsistent with, for example, what might be suggested by SAS.
Bottom line: Continuuity is probably doing something useful, but it’s so oversold right now I can’t figure out who actually should adopt it.