Is your data boring? MapR wants you to bore it back with Apache Drill

New release adds support for Google-y SQL-on-Hadoop tech

MapR has given its customers a new way to use SQL to query their Big Data stores, with the addition of Apache Drill to MapR's eponymous Hadoop distribution.

Drill is an open source project developed largely by MapR that aims to create a work-alike to Google's proprietary Dremel data analytics tool, which the Chocolate Factory makes available to the public in the form of its BigQuery online service.

The software allows users to run interactive ANSI SQL queries against Hadoop and NoSQL data stores, including complex datasets with nested fields and data in a variety of file formats. Drill even supports querying self-describing data formats such as Parquet and JSON.

"The agility to directly query self-describing data and the flexibility to process complex data types push the envelope in big data analysis and insight," MapR CEO John Schroeder said in a canned statement. "We are extremely excited by the potential of Drill to transform data-driven companies."

Although MapR has offered Drill as an unsupported "developer preview" for some time now, Tuesday's MapR 4.0.1 release marks the first time that the tool will ship as a standard part of the distribution.

Specifically, MapR 4.0.1 bundles Apache Drill 0.5.0, which shipped on September 12 and is touted as the first beta-quality release of the tech.

The Drill 0.5.0 release notes say it's "designed to help enthusiasts start working and experimenting with Drill," but MapR apparently has enough faith in the current codebase to ship it with its flagship product. Drill development operates on a monthly release cycle and the current version is mainly a bug-fix update of the earlier 0.4.0 release.

Mind you, Drill is far from the only way to use SQL to query a Hadoop store. In fact, with the 4.0.1 release, the MapR distribution now supports no less than five different SQL-on-Hadoop technologies, including Apache Hive, Cloudera Impala, Spark SQL, and certified integration with Vertica, in addition to Drill.

MapR 4.0.1 also includes updated versions of Apache HBase and Apache Spark. The new version is available beginning on Tuesday in MapR's customary three "editions," including the free M3 version, the M5 Enterprise Edition, and the top-tier M7 Enterprise Database Edition. ®

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