At the Strata + Hadoop World 2015 conference today TIBCO Software announced it is extending the reach of its Spotfire business intelligence software delivered via the cloud out to both Apache Spark in-memory computing clusters and SparkR, an implementation of Apache Spark that comes embedded with the R programming language.
In recent months Apache Spark has begun to eclipse Hadoop in terms of which framework will dominate Big Data applications going forward. While Apache Spark can obviously invoke Hadoop, it views Hadoop as one of several data sources that can be integrated in memory in real time.
That capability has touched off a race among providers of BI and visualization software to become the primary mechanism through which blended data running in Apache Spark manifests itself to end users. In the case of TIBCO Software that means integrating with Apache Spark using a Spark SQL connector embedded in Spotfire BI software running in the cloud before adding that same capability to the instances of Spotfire that can run on premise.
Mike Boyarski, senior director of product marketing for TIBCO Analytics, said TIBCO is unique in that its BI software works against both standard Apache Spark implementations and the implementation that is optimized for the R programming language that data scientists and analysts have widely adopted to build advance analytics applications.
For many solution providers the shift to Apache Spark as the center of the Big Data universe is catching many of them by surprise. Rather than relying on batch-oriented processes to develop applications in Hadoop, many organizations are now moving towards an Apache Spark model that enables them to run applications in real time without having to work with arcane programming models such as MapReduce.
While most of the queries launched against Apache Spark data with be accomplished using SQL, vendors ranging from TIBCO Software, to Tableau Software, Microsoft, IBM and SAS Institute are all battling it out to become the dominant front end application for making visual sense of all that Big Data.
The degree to which any one of those vendors will ultimately win out over the others remains to be seen. But TIBCO is clearly betting between Spotfire and its Jaspersoft software that it will be among the leading players of these applications when all is said and done, especially as more end users make the shift towards consuming BI software in the cloud that is managed on their behalf by TIBCO Software engineers that can rapidly implement new features at a rate most internal IT organizations are not going to be able to match.
Of course, solutions providers have the luxury of betting on multiple BI and visualization software vendors which means for now at least, they can sit back and enjoy a contest that will only become more heated in the months and years ahead.