MapR, the California-based enterprise software company that develops and sells Apache Hadoop-derived software, is to launch a European headquarters in London in the new year, to meet the needs of its customers and partners across the region.

The new London office will provide MapR with a base for technical and sales employees to accelerate the adoption of its enterprise-grade distribution of Hadoop. It will also help support existing partnerships with EMC, Google, Cisco, Amazon and system integrators.

“Our European expansion is a response to our strong customer growth and partner momentum,” said John Schroeder, CEO and co-founder of MapR Technologies.

MapR's Hadoop distribution claims to provide full data protection, no single points of failure, improved performance, and dramatic ease of use advantages.

Jack Norris, MapR's vice president of marketing, told Techworld that one of the issues with Big Data is that organisations have to use specialised APIs, which means adapting to a new programming paradigm.

“What MapR did was change the underlying data layer to also support standard NFS (Network File System), so existing tools and existing information sources can be used directly with the Hadoop platform,” said Norris.

MapR also aims to provide high availability and full data protection, to make it easier for organisations to use a broader set of applications.

“If you've got a 10-step workflow, every single one of those steps has to be changed to leverage the Hadoop distributed file system's API,” he said

“What MapR allows is that you only have to address the step that you want to take advantage of the Hadoop framework – everything else can use it just like storage. That's a real ease of use difference and you can use standard things like Linux commands and C++ programs directly against it.”

MapR entered a technology licensing agreement with EMC in 2011, supporting an EMC-specific distribution of Hadoop. The company was also selected by Amazon to provide an upgraded version of Amazon's Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) service.

Amazon customers can provision dynamically scalable MapR clusters, as well as using MapR with other AWS offerings such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon CloudWatch.

“The typical model is to take open source and surround it with services. For certain technologies that are at the commoditisation stage, that is an acceptable approach. But Big Data – and Hadoop in particular – is still at the early stage of maturity and there's no amount of services that you can deploy that can recover lost data for instance,” said Norris.

“We really feel strongly that the MapR approach to invest and provide these unique innovations are what's really required to support organisations and make them effective,” he concluded.

MapR will be showcasing its technology at the Big Data Analytics 2012 show in London on 6 December.