Cloudera buys cloud analytics startup Sense to help data scientists become more productive


Two years since its last venture capital round, Cloudera Inc. apparently still has plenty left over in the bank for strategic acquisitions. The Hadoop distributor this week picked up a Bay Area startup called Sense Inc. to get a hold of its cloud-based analytics platform, which provides a centralized environment for processing business information.

Users are able to set up a custom analytics cluster on the outfit’s infrastructure, import records from their organizations’ backend system and feed the data into a model all without leaving the native interface. The results can then be turned into interactive graphs that Sense likewise hosts on its platform, which removes the need to set up a separate visualization environment. All an analyst has to do is specify the amount of compute and storage resources needed to support their dashboard through the startup’s administration console. The panel is also where the access controls regulating who is allowed to log into a deployment are managed.

Sense makes it possible to ensure that a report containing sensitive business information can only be viewed by workers with the necessary permissions. All the content associated with an account is displayed in the same window, which enables the data science team to easily modify access controls as dashboards are added and removed over time. Cloudera will utilize the startup’s broad feature set and engineering talent to help its platform stand out better amid the the growing competition in the Hadoop ecosystem.

The company is dealing not only with rivaling distributors such as MapR Technologies Inc. and Hortonworks Inc. but also an emerging threat from Apache Spark, a popular component of its offering that is increasingly being deployed on a standalone basis. The trend is in turn leading adopters to replace other key parts of Hadoop like HDFS by more modern technologies that are better-suited to support the requirements of the in-memory analytics engine. Cloudera will need to deliver a steady supply of new value-added functionality like that it’s gaining through Sense to maintain the appeal of its platform.

The company didn’t say exactly what it’s planning to do with the startup’s service or how much it’s paying for it. However, the fact that Sense raised $1.26 million from investors prior to the deal and boasts a fully baked offering along with multiple customers would suggest that the acquisition is valued at least in the mid-seven figures.

Image via Geralt