Databricks Community Edition Marries Spark and the Cloud

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 22, 2016

People in the Big Data and Hadoop communities have been becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. IBM has made a huge financial commitment to advancing Spark, and companies like Databricks are focused on it as well.

Now, Databricks is out with the beta release of Databricks Community Edition, a free version of its cloud-based Spark platform. It's not yet available to everyone, but you can  join the waitlist here. General availability is planned for the middle of this year.

According to the company:

"Databricks Community Edition is designed for developers, data scientists, data engineers and anyone who want to learn Spark. With Databricks Community Edition, the users will have access to a micro-cluster, a cluster manager and the notebook environment to prototype simple applications. All users can share their notebooks and host them free of charge with Databricks. For those who are already using IPython, Databricks is compatible with IPython notebooks – you can easily import your existing IPython notebooks into Databricks, and vice versa."

"In addition to the platform itself, Databricks Community Edition comes with a rich portfolio of Spark training resources, including the award-winning Massive Open Online Course, “Introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark,” which has enrolled over 76,000 participants to date. We will also continue to develop Spark tutorials and training materials over time, which will be directly accessible from the Community Edition."

 According to the 2015 Spark Survey, Spark adoption is rapidly growing as IT professionals leverage the engine to make data processing easy and accessible.

"As developers at heart, we find value in empowering professionals to tackle big data problems, and as a result, we are committed to the development of the Spark engine and the healthy growth of the community," said Ion Stoica, executive chairman at Databricks. "We're happy to contribute back to the community by releasing Community Edition of Databricks for free and we're excited to see how users experiment with the platform."

"Before the release of Community Edition you had to either build your own cluster or pay thousands of dollars per month to learn how to do data science and advanced analytics such as machine learning," said Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz. "By combining Databricks' new offering with their highly popular Spark MOOCs, more people can now develop an expertise in data science -- which has become one of the most valuable skill sets in technology -- for free."

For more information on Databricks Community Edition and how to join the waitlist, check out the FAQ here.