Built on top of Apache’s Hadoop, Zookeeper and Thrift projects, Accumulo is a distributed key/value store based on the design of Google’s BigTable. Developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Accumulo project has now been proposed to the Apache Software Foundation for consideration and incubation as a new Apache project. Accumulo’s big difference is that it has fine-grained label-based access control, which could allow different users to access a record but only see the fields they are allowed to see; the NSA developers believe such a database could work in “government, health care, and other industries where privacy is a concern”.
The rationale for the proposal is that “there is a need for a flexible, high performance distributed key/value store that provides expressive, fine-grained access labels. The communities we expect to be most interested in such a project are government, health care, and other industries where privacy is a concern. We have made much progress in developing this project over the past 3 years and believe both the project and the interested communities would benefit from this work being openly available and having open development.”