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Apache Authors: William Schmarzo, Christopher Harrold, Elizabeth White, Talend Inc., Adrian Bridgwater

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Actian Helps Evernote Deliver on its Promise to Help Customers “Remember Everything”

With more than 80 million users globally and growing, Evernote knows a thing or two about architecting for sustainable, rapid data proliferation. When the time came to do a complete redesign of its solution to handle data that was bursting at the seams – more than 40 billion rows of data in the primary table – Evernote implemented its big data analytics using the Actian columnar MPP database which, as Evernote CTO Dave Engberg notes in a blog, “excels at superfast ad-hoc queries.”

“Evernote acts as a second brain to many of our users. They expect to be able to recall details from their accounts instantly anytime, anywhere and we depend on super-fast data retrieval to deliver that experience,” says Engberg. “As we began our next-generation architecture, we focused on another value angle – being able to conduct meaningful analytics on accumulated data, including large-scale aggregate processing and calculation across many independent variables.”

True to the spirit of innovation that pervades Evernote, Engberg’s team completely reinvented their approach to analytics with a two-tier environment leveraging both Hadoop and the Actian Analytics Platform™. The Hadoop cluster, accessed via Hive, absorbs the rapidly accumulating log files, accommodating affordable, massive data storage and parallel batch processing jobs. The data, however, is cloned into the Actian analytics database for more complex, multifaceted analytics. There, as Engberg notes, “we’re able to answer many types of questions much faster than we could with a brute-force crawl in Hive. We get a great performance boost with the Actian analytics database.”

Evernote uses the Actian Analytics Platform for a range of analytics scenarios including company-wide reporting, ad hoc product and marketing analytics and business forecasting. The company directly loads data from external sources, such as payment processors, email marketing and A/B testing, and stores a summary of all Evernote log files from February 2008 to the present in the Actian analytics database. Evernote now runs more than 250 daily reports in less than two hours, a dramatic reduction from 12 hours formerly, while simultaneously supporting over 4,000 queries on a typical day from more than 50 users.

Evernote Director of Analytics Damon Cool notes, “With Actian, a query on a table with more than 25,000,000,000 rows takes less than three seconds to run. Because of this, we no longer have to limit ourselves to incremental dumps constrained by data size or performance. We’ve now got a completely modern analytics environment that is integral to making informed, real-time business decisions and will scale with our growing business."

“It’s exciting to team with visionary industry leaders like Evernote to deliver hard-hitting enterprise deployments that deliver extreme performance, extreme scale and extreme agility,” says Ashish Gupta, Actian Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development. “It’s a time of massive upheaval in the industry, and deeply innovative companies that aggressively question traditional business and technology approaches will be the winners in Big Data 2.0. It’s enormously rewarding to contribute to the success of winners like Evernote.”

About Actian: Accelerating Big Data 2.0™

Actian transforms big data into business value for any organization – not just the privileged few. Actian provides transformational business value by delivering actionable insights into new sources of revenue, business opportunities, and ways of mitigating risk with high-performance in-database analytics complemented with extensive connectivity and data preparation. The 21st century software architecture of the Actian Analytics Platform delivers extreme performance on off-the-shelf hardware, overcoming key technical and economic barriers to broad adoption of big data. Actian also makes Hadoop enterprise-grade by providing high-performance ELT, visual design and SQL analytics on Hadoop without the need for MapReduce skills. Among tens of thousands of organizations using Actian are innovators using analytics for competitive advantage in industries like financial services, telecommunications, digital media, healthcare and retail. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley and has offices worldwide. Stay connected with Actian Corporation at www.actian.com or on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Actian, Actian Analytics Platform, Accelerating Big Data 2.0, ParAccel, Action Apps, and Ingres are trademarks of Actian Corporation and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.

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