Photograph by Polygraphus/Getty Images
By Barb Darrow
May 27, 2015

Basho is the company behind Riak, a popular key value store, a simple but vital type of database management system used to store and retrieve pieces of data.

A common key value store application is a shopping cart on an online commerce site. If you have the key, in this case the user identity/password, you can quickly access the value or the products in the cart. It’s simple, fast and important way to store and access basic information.

But Seattle-based Basho wants to expand its purview and is therefore melding a variety of technologies including its existing Riak KV (for key value), Riak CS cloud storage, Apache Spark cluster framework, Redis caching and Apache Solr (a tool for advanced query and search capabilities) into what it’s calling the Basho Data Platform.

“Companies have to deal with the challenges of distributed development and availability of data. Some may want to use columnar data, some a document store, all based on their workloads. We’ll pull all that together and make it easy to use,” said Basho CEO Adam Wray.

That is a tall order. The explosion of different types of databases and stores is a blessing insofar as you can get just what you need to get the job done, but also a curse in that somehow, someway, you may need to bring all those products together at some point.

The company goal for this product, er “platform,” announced Wednesday but due out in June, is to provide one place for managing the data it processes via NoSQL databases, or elsewhere. NoSQL, or not-only-SQL refers to data that doesn’t necessarily have to be in the strict row-and-column format typically handled by structured or SQL database. (Structured Query Language or SQL is the standard way to ask questions of structured databases and get answers.)

Many companies are trying to attack this problem of handling disparate data types for different applications, a task that gets even more complicated by the increasingly distributed nature of computing. That’s one reason NoSQL fan favorite MongoDB bought WiredTiger, a specialist in data storage engines, late last year, for example. DataStax is also attacking this problem with a platform of its own.

Typically, data gets pumped into a key value store and then pumped right out again for further processing. Basho wants to be more than a key value store provider, said Carl Olofson, a research VP at market research firm IDC.

The fact that Basho is doing this shows that point solutions, things like key value stores or what have you, are not what the market wants or needs anymore to make the vision of Big Data work, said Holger Mueller, principal analyst for Constellation Research.

Big companies do not want to have to stitch a lot of different products together to get the job done, observers said.

“The industry to a point is a victim of their own success with so much innovation at frantic speeds that enterprises cannot keep up, so platforms will slow things down for the enterprise, may lock out some vendors and some innovation, and are a sign of market maturation,” said Holger Mueller, VP and principal analyst for Constellation Research.



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