Big data faster: A conversation with Bradford Stephens

The founder of Drawn to Scale explains how his database platform does simple things quickly.

Strata Conference 2011
To prepare for O’Reilly’s upcoming Strata Conference, we’re continuing our series of conversations with some of the leading innovators working with big data and analytics. Today, we hear from Bradford Stephens, founder of Drawn to Scale.

Drawn to Scale is a database platform that works with large data sets. Stephens describes its focus as slightly different from that of other big data tools: “Other tools out there concentrate on doing complex things with your data in seconds to minutes. We really concentrate on doing simple things with your data in milliseconds.”

Stephens calls such speed “user time” and he credits Drawn to Scale’s performance to its indexing system working in parallel with backend batch tools. Like other big data tools, Drawn to Scale uses MapReduce and Hadoop for batch processing on the back end. But on the front end, a series of secondary indices on top of the storage layer speed up retrieval. “We find that when you index data in the manner in which you wish to use it, it’s basically one single call to the disk to access it,” Stephens says. “So it can be extremely fast.”


Big data tools and applications will be examined at the Strata Conference (Feb. 1-3, 2011). Save 30% on registration with the code STR11RAD.


Drawn to Scale’s customers include organizations working with analytics, in social media, in mobile ad targeting and delivery, and also organizations with large arrays of sensor networks. While he expects to see some consolidation on the commercial side (“I see a lot of vendors out there doing similar things”), on the open source side he expects to see a proliferation of tools available in areas such as geo data and managing time series. “People have some very specific requirements that they’re going to cook up in open source.”

You’ll find the full interview in the following video:

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  • http://www.drawntoscale.com Bradford

    Thanks so much for this opportunity!

    If anyone’s interested, you can learn more about our database with real-time search and querying here: http://www.drawntoscale.com

  • David Sims

    Hi iphone case shop,

    Bradford is our primary source on this video, supplemented by our awareness of the players in the big data space. The video is just a brief Q&A with Bradford about Drawn to Scale, the company he helped found and where their database platform fits into the big data ecosystem — specifically, how his solution differs from some others. The text is primarily a summary of the video.

    Is that helpful? Let me know if there’s any point in particular that you would want further clarification on.

    Thanks,
    - Dave