Sqrrl CEO Oren Falkowitz Talks Big Data Security


Oren Falkowitz, the former NSA security guru who founded sqrrl with four of his colleagues, hopped into theCube at Strata Conference + Hadoop World to discuss his company and the state of the market.

Falkowitz’s startup is currently developing a commercial, enterprise-grade version of Accumulo, a distributed data store that rivals HBase with a more security-centric approach. The system leverages cell-level security to allow multiple users with different permissions to access the same page, but only see the portions they’re intended to. Falkowitz explains that this solves licensing and compliance issues on a massive scale, and goes on to elaborate.

The National Security Agency had to handle massive amounts of data long before Hadoop became what it is today, and had to re-invent the wheel on several occasions. Its engineers developed Accumulo to address two major challenges: scalability, and cost-efficiency.  By making allowing tens of thousands of users to view the same file simultaneously Accumulo eliminates the need to create multiple stores for each permission level. This saves a lot of overhead, both in terms of cost and the human resources required to manage such a redundantly complex environment.

The data store was donated to the Apache Foundation earlier this year, around the same time sqrrl emerged and started making a name for itself. The company has gone a long way in just a few months, and Falkowitz has even more planned for the two.

The CEO says that we can expect an early version of sqrrl’s product to be released in January, but doesn’t reveal more than that. What he does note is that his firm’s growth can be credited in great part to its partnership with the likes of MapR and HortonWorks. Accumulo after all is a niche solution, and it needs to work with the BI and analytics tools that prospective customers are already using.