Big Data Services

Get insights out of very large data sets

Researchers who need to analyse large amounts of (un)structured data can make use of the SURFsara Big Data services. Several large public data sets and multiple frameworks, such as Apache Spark, Hive, Pig and HBase provide easy to use environments for Big Data analysis.
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Big Data analysis

Big Data refers to the handling of large, possibly unstructured data sets that can not, or not easily, be handled by standard technology. SURFsara offers several Big Data tools and frameworks, which enable researchers to process large, structured or unstructured data sets. Big Data processing is particular popular in the fields of linguistics, data mining, machine learning, bioinformatics and the social sciences, but certainly not limited to those disciplines.

Open Source

Recently there has been much development in the areas of real time analysis, machine learning and graph analysis. Innovations in these and other areas are often the result from the interplay between large Internet companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook etc. and Open Source projects. Apache Hadoop, Spark, Kafka and HBase are examples of software frameworks that are the result of these Open Source projects and that are available for use at SURFsara.

Easy to use

Another, often overlooked aspect of Big Data technology is its simplicity, especially when compared to comparable HPC processing models. Big Data frameworks allow software developers to get insights out of very large data sets, with little extra knowledge and minimal effort. The use of interactive notebook environments like IPython and Zeppelin are growing in popularity in Big Data frameworks. In addition, users can easily work on their own laptop and later scale to hundreds of machines at SURFsara, without adapting their software. 

Support & consultancy

When you use our services, you can always turn to us for support. Our team can ensure you get the most out of our services. We can also organize introductory courses on the use of Big Data services upon request.


Our helpdesk is available by telephone and email, but can also assist you in person. If you have any questions, please send an email to


More (technical) information regarding the use of this service can be found on the pages with user information. Are you looking for a printable version of the service description? You can download a service description of Big Data Services in pdf. For further questions, please contact us at

Latest modifications 27 Aug 2018