Cask Data collects $20M to help devs brew packaged apps on Hadoop

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A little-known Hadoop developer called Cask Data, Inc. has found itself under the spotlight after securing a $20 million in a Series B financing round led by Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. The round, which also saw participation from Battery Ventures, Ignition Partners and other existing investors, brings the three-and-a-half-year old startup’s total funding to $32.5 million following a Series A round back in November 2012.

Cask, which was formerly known as Continuuity, builds an application server for Hadoop that helps developers to deliver enterprise-class Hadoop solutions more quickly and effectively. Called the Cask Data Application Platform (CDAP), Cask’s open-source solution provides governance, portability, security, scalability and transactional consistency atop of Hadoop. The software abstracts the numerous layers of the Hadoop ecosystem, making it easier for developers to create Big Data applications.

Cask also offers a tool called Cooper, which is designed to help developers quickly and easily provision Hadoop clusters in public, private and OpenStack clouds.

The company, which boasts an impressive list of customers and partners including Cloudera Inc., Salesforce.com, Inc., and AT&T Inc., claims its platforms helps cut the time to implementation of Big Data apps by up to 80 percent.

Cask is one of many companies trying to make a living by easing the complexity of Hadoop, explained Wikibon’s Big Data analyst George Gilbert. He described Cask’s platform as a kind of hybrid between and application framework and a packaged application aimed at enterprises, startups and smaller businesses that lack the talent and resources to build their own systems around Hadoop.

“Cask could be an interesting company,” Gilbert said. “It makes it easier for other companies to build ‘packaged’ applications on Hadoop. And packaged apps on Hadoop are a really scarce resource since no one can agree what Hadoop really is anymore.”

With its bank balance now bulging, Cask is planning to spend the cash on enhancing its Hadoop application server and developing a broad sales team, said Cask CEO and Founder Jonathan Gray.

“Big data has moved into the mainstream, but enterprises continue to struggle with the complexities and new skill sets required in the Hadoop ecosystem,” Gray said in prepared remarks. “This financing, along with the operational expertise and guidance from our new board members Phil and Frank, will allow us to take Cask to the next level.”

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