The Netezza team is back, with $8M in funding, to make big data easy for enterprises

A stealth-mode Boston-area startup called Cazena launched on Monday with a promise to simplify big data for large companies, and $8 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venure Partners to help make it happen. The company is leaning pretty heavily on its founding team’s experience building data warehouse specialist Netezza (which is now part of IBM) earlier this century: Cazena CEO Prat Moghe (pictured above) was a senior vice president at Netezza, while Netezza founder Jit Saxena and longtime Netezza CEO Jim Baum sit on the company’s board.

Moghe was light on detail about what Cazena’s product will be during a recent interview, but a couple things are pretty clear: It wants to make big data less about infrastructure and more about applications, and it wants to use the cloud to do it. Deploying tools like Hadoop and NoSQL databases can require a lot of time, money and “physics,” he explained, “and these guys have been eyeing the cloud but they really don’t know how to leverage the cloud.”

Many large companies are confused about the technologies they even need to deploy in the first place, he added. They don’t necessarily know when and where things like Hadoop, NoSQL, Spark, Elasticsearch — you name it — come into play, and they certainly don’t know how to turn them into a functional “data lake” like some vendors are pitching.”People are struggling just to get basic clusters up,” Moghe said.

Cazena will come forward with its product strategy in early 2015, but when Moghe talks about the lessons learned from Netezza, one gets a sense of what we can expect. “Netezza was not about a database, it was about an appliance that solved a specific analytics problem,” he said. Noting that Netezza largely built its product on top of Postgress, he added, “It didn’t matter that Netezza didn’t build a database.”