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Imply Targets Analytical App Developers With Cloud Database Launch

Big data startup Imply, founded by the original developers of open-source Apache Druid, is offering a fully-managed cloud service and query engine to help programmers build high-performance analytical applications that work with real-time and historical data.

Data analytics startup Imply has launched a cloud database service targeting developers who need to build high-performance analytical applications.

Imply, founded by the original developers of the Apache Druid open-source analytical database, is also previewing a multi-stage query engine for the new database, built on the Druid architecture.

The database service and query engine are the first milestone’s in Imply’s Project Shapeshift, a 12-month initiative the company announced in November to develop products and services to help developers build high-performance analytical apps.

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“We want to transform the developer experience to make it drop-dead easy to build a modern analytics application,” said Praveen Rangnath, Imply chief marketing officer, in a briefing with CRN.

Apache Druid is in use at more than 1,000 companies today, including Netflix and Salesforce, and the open-source Druid community has more than 10,000 members. Imply, founded in 2015, was launched by Druid’s original developers including CEO Fangjin Yang, CTO Gian Merlino and Chief Experience Officer Vadim Ogievetsky.

Imply develops a real-time data analytics platform based on Apache Druid, along with providing other software and professional services around the Druid system. The Burlingame, Calif.-based company raised $70 million in Series C funding in June 2021, bringing its total financing to $116 million.

Imply’s new offerings are intended to meet the demands of today’s analytical applications for both internal and external users, said Rangnath. Analytical applications need to provide interactive analytics that work with huge data volumes, support for multiple concurrent queries, and analytical insights from combined real-time and historical data, he said.

The new Imply Polaris is a fully managed database cloud service that developers use for building and deploying analytical applications. Now generally available, Polaris is based on Apache Druid, but includes added “intelligent data operations” functionality including built-in performance monitoring, embedded security, automated configuration and tuning parameters, and a data visualization engine that’s integrated with the database user interface.

The Polaris service, running on the Amazon Web Services cloud, also includes a built-in, push-based data streaming service that utilizes Confluent Cloud on the back end. Confluent, which went public last year, develops its “data-in-motion” real time data/event streaming platform based on the open-source Apache Kafka technology.

The new query engine, now offered as a preview for Imply customers, is also based on the Druid architecture. The engine includes Druid for Reporting, which can handle queries that require high-performance interactivity and produce very large results sets, and Druid for Alerting, which provides alerting capabilities based on combined streaming and historical data.

The Polaris database and query engine work with real-time data generated by Kafka, Amazon Kinesis and other real-time systems, according to Imply, and can combine that with historical data residing in Amazon S3, HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) and other data stores.

Once generally available, the query engine will be offered as part of Polaris among Imply’s commercial product portfolio. It also will be donated to the Apache Druid open-source development project, Rangnath said.

Many database systems on the market today are designed for transactional applications, Rangnath said, while data warehouses – even modern cloud data warehouse systems – don’t work well with real-time data. “We just don’t think they’re well-suited for modern analytical applications,” he said.

“Companies are now waking up to this idea that when they combine real-time data with historical data, they can get really powerful insights into their own business and IT operations as well as share those insights with their customers,” Rangnath said.

“The requirements are shifting. There’s more data, there’s more need for interactivity [and] there are more users. That’s why this space is exploding,” said David Wang, Imply product marketing vice president, in the briefing with CRN. “On the analytics side there’s a huge untapped space where there is no market leader today.”

A more immediate market for Imply is helping businesses and organizations with on-premises Druid deployments move to the easier-to-use, cloud-based Polaris, Rangnath said.

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