Newcomer Galactic Exchange can spin up a Hadoop cluster in five minutes

A new company with a cool name, Galactic Exchange, came out of stealth today with a great idea. It claims it can spin up a Hadoop cluster for you in five minutes, ready to go. That’s no small feat if it works as advertised and greatly simplifies what has traditionally been a process wrought with complexity.

The new product called ClusterGX is being released in Beta this week at Strata+HadoopWorld in San Jose. It still requires that you bring your own data and application to run on top of the cluster.

As though the prospect of almost instant Hadoop clusters weren’t enough to make a big data geek smile from ear to ear, it gets better. That’s because the tool is actually open source and it’s free to use. That’s right, it doesn’t cost anything. The company is paying for the required cloud infrastructure  for now, which is a brave prospect because Hadoop does involve big data by its nature — and big data means lots and lots of data.

Galactic Exchange is not completely altruistic though. It does actually intend to make money at some point when it releases an enterprise version of the product complete with better security, support and all the kinds of features businesses tend to pay for if they like your product.

The product is actually geared toward small to medium businesses, the ones that can’t afford to hire dedicated teams to spin up and manage Hadoop clusters, company CEO Rob Mustarde explained to me.

How simple is it? It’s as easy as installing a smartphone app according to Mustarde. What’s more, you can install it as you like on Windows, Linux or OSX (or even bare metal — a fancy word for a dedicated cloud server).

Over the long term, the company plans to expand beyond Hadoop and Spark, which is really only a part of what they hope to do moving forward. “Our long term plan is to allow all of your applications and compute and virtualized storage to work together in hyper-converged environment,” Mustarde said.

For now, launching with an open source product seems like a smart approach, and Nik Rouda an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group has the data to back up that notion. “In our research, more than 90% of those responsible for big data strategies said they valued their vendors’ active participation in open source, and 24% said they wanted a purely open source distribution for Hadoop environments.”

That would seem to bode well for the new company as it starts out this week.