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January 31, 2019

Presto Backers Bolster Its Open Source Origins

George Leopold

A new industry group will promote Presto, the popular open source distributed SQL query engine launched by Facebook engineers in 2012 as a follow-on to Apache Hive.

The Presto Software Foundation launched on Thursday (Jan. 31) seeks to ensure the project’s independence as the query engine scales to handle large enterprise data sets, organizers said. Presto became an Apache Foundation project in 2013 and has since attracted a growing list of backers besides Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), including LinkedIn, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Uber.

The original goal of the Presto project was creating a dependable query engine capable of scaling to the exabyte range. “From the beginning, we stressed the importance of code quality, architectural extensibility and open collaboration with the community,” said Martin Traverso, co-creator of Presto and co-founder of the Presto Software Foundation.

“With the rapid expansion of both the Presto user base and Presto developer community over the last several years, establishing a non-profit to institutionalize these values is the next logical step to ensure that this project stands the test of time,” Traverso added.

A survey of big data service users released last year found that Presto is outpacing Hive and Spark. While remains Hive and Spark remain the leaders among big data engines, Presto notched bigger gains across several key metrics, according to user survey released last April by Qubole.

The survey found that the annual increase in the number of users that ran commands on Presto rose by 255 percent, compared to 171 percent for Spark, and 136 percent for Hadoop/Hive. “We have seen incredible adoption of Presto from companies representing all sizes and industries,” Ashish Thusoo, Qubole’s CEO and co-founder, said in announcing the launch of the Presto foundation.

Starburst Data is the second largest code contributor to Presto after Facebook. “The establishment of the foundation ensures that the project will remain independent, community-driven and focused on building high-quality software for the long-term,” said Justin Borgman, Starburst’s CEO and co-founder.

According to the new foundation’s web site, Presto continues to be offered under an Apache license as the new group promotes expanded open source development.

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