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Hadoop is huge, as anyone interested in big data can tell you — but the open-source platform for storing vast quantities of unstructured data doesn’t make it easy for people to pull useful insights out of it.

That’s what AtScale aims to do, calling itself “the first company to allow business users to do business intelligence on Hadoop.” It may not be the first — Datameer, Tableau, and many others are aimed at enabling BI on Hadoop — but with a new Series A round of $7 million in capital, AtScale is in the race and off and running.

AtScale is positioning itself as the “glue” between piles of data on Hadoop and the more user-friendly analysis tools that nontechnical business people are used to. Its “virtual cubes” present Hadoop data to traditional BI tools in a format the software can understand — SQL, the structured query language that is the lingua franca of databases — so business analysts can continue using the same analysis tools they always have been.

Founder Dave Mariani has some experience with big piles of data. At Yahoo, he said that he and his team managed a data flow of more than 30 billion events per day. At Klout, he led a team overseeing a Hadoop cluster with a 1 trillion-row data warehouse.

Dave Mariani, the cofounder and CEO of AtScale.

Above: Dave Mariani, the cofounder and CEO of AtScale

Image Credit: AtScale

“AtScale couldn’t have been invented before the introduction of SQL-on-Hadoop engines like Impala, SparkSQL, and Hive/Tez. These engines are key ingredients and provided the foundation that allowed us to build a true business interface for Hadoop,” Mariani said in a statement.

The company has some well-known backers. Amr Awadallah, the founder and CTO of big data company Cloudera, is an investor, and Michael Franklin, the director of the Berkeley AMPLab (where Apache Spark was born), is an advisor.

Plus, there’s Jerry Yang, the cofounder of Yahoo — the company where Hadoop was born.

“We believe [AtScale] can become the standard for how business people interact with Hadoop, and it is well positioned to monetize the opportunity that sits between two massive markets: the new Big Data space and the established Analytics world,” said Yang, a founding partner at AME Ventures, which invested in this round.

The round was led by UMC Capital, with AME Ventures, Storm Ventures, and XSeed Capital participating.

AtScale is based in San Mateo, California.

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