ZEPL raises $4.1M to stoke growth of Apache Zeppelin notebook

Apache Aeppelin Visualization

The Apache Zeppelin analytical notebook is one of the hottest new open-source tools for programmers and data analysts, and now its developers have $4.1 million in new funding to develop it.

ZEPL, which was formerly called NFLabs, will use the cash infusion to evangelize what it says is a new type of collaborative analytics and attack what it sees as a hobbled Tableau Software Inc., whose stock price has been pummeled this year on disappointing earnings results.

Still in incubation, Zeppelin goes beyond typical notebook features to include data ingestion, data exploration, visualization, sharing and collaboration for the Hadoop and Spark data storage and processing software. It works in multiple languages and includes some rich data visualization features, along with dynamic forms and collaboration.

Zeppelin is designed to integrate particularly well with Spark, the red-hot analytics framework that has been stealing Hadoop’s thunder over the past year. Zeppelin supports both Spark and Apache Hive out-of-the-box and produces rich visualizations that can be shared.  It’s integrated with the major cloud infrastructure platforms and Hadoop distributions.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen Zeppelin grow from a Spark-only notebook style visualization tool to a broader analytic collaboration tool for various compute frameworks,” Sejun Ra, co-founder and chief executive at ZEPL, wrote in a draft blog post shared with the media.

ZEPL’s initial product is ZeppelinHub, a service that enables teams to connect and share Zeppelin notebooks publicly or privately, create custom work spaces and work collaboratively in real time. There’s a free version, a business version priced at $50 per user per month and a forthcoming enterprise version. Pricing and packaging are listed here.

Multi-language support is a feature ZEPL intends to push. “A data engineer can use Spark/Scala on Zeppelin to source and format data, while a data scientist can write some algorithms with Python,” Ra said. “Then the business analyst can run some SQL queries, as well as perform pivots on tables. And all this can be done in a single notebook within a common interface.”

The round was led by Vertex Ventures, with participation from Translink Capital LLC, Specialized Types and Big Basin Capital. Sik Rhee, a general partner at Vertex, will join the company’s board.

Image via Apache Zeppelin project