SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Databricks Launches “Certified Spark Distribution” Program to Recognize Vendors Committed to Supporting the Apache Spark Application Ecosystem

Databricks, the company founded by the creators of Apache Spark, the next generation Big Data engine, today announced the “Certified Spark Distribution” program for vendors with a commercial Spark distribution. Certification indicates that the vendor’s Spark distribution is compatible with the open source Apache Spark distribution, enabling “Certified on Spark” applications - certified to work with Apache Spark - to run on the vendor’s Spark distribution out-of-the-box.

“One of Databricks’ goals is to ensure users have a fantastic experience. Our belief is that having the community work together to maintain compatibility and therefore facilitate a vibrant application ecosystem is crucial to this vision,” said Ion Stoica, Databricks CEO. “We first launched the ‘Certified on Spark’ program to help build a robust ecosystem of innovative applications on top of Apache Spark. The ‘Certified Spark Distribution’ program is the other half of the equation, recognizing vendors that are committed to providing a home for these applications to allow the ecosystem to flourish.”

In keeping with the open source nature of Spark, the certification process is fully transparent with open-source tests, lightweight, and 100% free - a mirror image of the “Certified on Spark” process for Spark applications. Vendors fill out a short questionnaire and then simply execute a set of open-source tests - developed and maintained by the community and used to test each release of Apache Spark - against their build of Spark to demonstrate compatibility.

“Certification shouldn’t be used as a tool for lock-in: Certified Spark Distributions are not required to ship all the bits of Apache Spark, or be open source, or prevented from innovating significantly within and around Spark,” said Arsalan Tavakoli-Shiraji, Business Development Lead at Databricks. “They simply need to maintain compatibility with Apache Spark to provide support for the application ecosystem.”

As part of the certification program launch, five vendors have completed the certification process: DataStax, Hortonworks, IBM, Oracle, and Pivotal - industry leaders that have recognized and embraced the power of Spark when integrated with their respective platforms. Each of these vendors put their distributions through the certification process, which included a host of integration tests to ensure full compatibility with the latest Apache Spark release.

“One of the big risks faced by open source projects is fragmentation among distributors. Fragmentation is bad for both users and application developers, and ultimately for the growth of the project,” said Matei Zaharia, Databricks CTO and VP of the Spark project at Apache. “We are delighted that these partners - along with others in the certification pipeline - share our vision of an undivided Spark platform based directly around Apache, and will ensure that all applications built on Apache Spark run on their distributions.”

Vendors interested in certifying their Spark distribution should visit www.databricks.com and select "Apply for Certification." Enterprise users can also visit the Databricks site regularly to see the latest set of certified distributions and applications, and read “spotlight” blog articles that provide deep-dives on the Spark ecosystem by newly certified vendors.

All the inaugural members will be on hand at the upcoming Spark Summit from June 30th to July 2nd in San Francisco to provide greater information on the role of Spark in helping better serve their customers. Additionally, there will be an “Application Spotlight” segment that will highlight innovative “Certified on Spark” applications.

Supporting Quotes:

"DataStax is strongly committed to making Cassandra and Spark the best combination for today's online applications," said Robin Schumacher, VP of products at DataStax. "We have demonstrated that commitment with the integration work we have contributed back to both open source communities as well as the certified versions of Spark and Cassandra we provide in DataStax Enterprise for production environments."

“We support the fact that Apache Spark project provides enterprises with an additional processing engine in Hadoop to execute in-memory algorithms for advanced analytics,” said John Kreisa, vice president of strategic marketing at Hortonworks. “We applaud Databricks’ vision to ensure Spark is fully integrated on YARN, which enterprises have adopted as the data OS for Hadoop.”

"Pivotal's open source credentials are quite extensive - Apache-compatible Hadoop, MADLib, RabbitMQ, CloudFoundry - and now we've added Spark to that set," said Sarabjeet Chugh, Head of Hadoop Product Management at Pivotal. "Additionally, we recognize the importance of a unified community to enable the ecosystem to grow and so are thrilled to back this effort."

About Databricks

Databricks was founded by the creators of Apache Spark, who have been working for the past six years on cutting-edge systems to analyze and process Big Data. They believe that Big Data is a tremendous opportunity that is still largely untapped, and are actively working to revolutionize what enterprises can do with it. Databricks is venture-backed by Andreessen Horowitz. For more information, visit http://www.databricks.com.

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