While Hadoop has transformed how data gets used and stored across the enterprise, providing access to all that data is a way the average end user can consume has been something of a challenge. To address that particular issue AtScale developed a way to create traditional online analytics processing (OLAP) cubes directly on top of Hadoop data.

Now via an alliance with Microsoft that concept is being extended to Microsoft HDInsight, the cloud service based on Hadoop that Microsoft is currently providing access to on the Microsoft Azure platform as a technology preview. That instance of Hadoop is based on the distribution created by Hortonworks.

AtScale CEO Dave Mariani said that between the two offerings the Microsoft ecosystem now has access to a set of Hadoop technologies that can be federated across on premise and an external cloud computing environment. IT organizations are going to want to analyze data residing in multiple instances of Hadoop, which the AtScale Intelligence Platform enables by making it possible to pull all that data into an OLAP cube on which a traditional business intelligence (BI) application can be layered.

For the most part the laws of data gravity dictate that most data is going to stay where it is created because moving large amounts of data around the enterprise into one centralized platform is expensive. Nevertheless, there are times when user of a BI application will want to be able to aggregate subsets of data to gain more insight into a particular event or business process. The AtScale Intelligence Platform, based on a Hadoop distribution from Hortonworks running on Linux, enables that to occur using a construct that is already familiar to most users of BI applications. The mechanism through which that occurs is the Microsoft Enterprise Library Autoscaling Application Block (WASABi), which can be hosted on premise or in the Microsoft Azure cloud to automatically scale applications.

To help jumpstart sales of the AtScale Intelligence Platform the company this week also named Robert DeMartino as its new vice president of sales and business development. Most recently, DeMartino lead sales and business development for Platfora, a provider of a rival Big Data analytics platform.

Mariani said AtScale is particularly keen to establish relationship with channel partners that are committed to the vision of hybrid cloud computing that Microsoft espouses. In the case of Big Data specifically, Microsoft is building out a range of database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offerings around which its partners will be able to build and extend a wide variety of applications. At the same time, however, Mariani made it clear there is nothing exclusive about the partnership with Microsoft. As such, channel partners should expect to see AtScale form similar alliances with other cloud service providers and over time it’s probably that multiple database services will be invoked to feed data into an AtScale OLAP cube.

There’s no doubt that Big Data represents a massive opportunity for solution providers. But the challenge solution providers and their customers really face isn’t so much how to aggregate large amounts of data. Rather, the issue is how to turn all that data into something that resembles actual actionable intelligence.