NSA's Big Data Platform Faces Enterprise Test

J. Nicholas Hoover | InformationWeek | October 11, 2012

Accumulo, the data storage software developed by the National Security Agency, has taken another step toward the enterprise market. Sqrrl, the startup launched by former NSA technologists to commercialize Accumulo, has teamed up with Apache Hadoop provider Hortonworks to combine their technologies.

It's the latest in a series of developments for NSA's big-data platform over the past 13 months. The NSA submitted Accumulo to the Apache Foundation in September 2011 for development as open source. In July 2012, a number of NSA employees joined with former White House cybersecurity strategy director Ely Khan to form Sqrrl. Two months ago, Sqrrl announced it had raised $2 million in venture funding.

Based on Google's BigTable data model, Accumulo is a distributed key/value store for structured and unstructured data. When NSA began developing Accumulo in 2008, many of the big data management platforms--Hbase, MongoDB, Cassandra, and others--were new or had not yet been released, unproven, and unlikely to meet the agency's rigorous security requirements. So NSA decided to develop the data management software it needed internally...