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Imply Introduces Project Shapeshift, the Next Step in the Evolution of the Druid Experience

Game changing project to make it dramatically easier for developers to build transformational modern analytics applications

Imply, founded by the original creators of Apache Druid, unveils Project Shapeshift, which will offer developers and organizations a next level Druid experience that reimagines the process of building modern analytics applications. A series of game changing capabilities will be released throughout the next year to transform the Druid experience to fit a cloud-native, developer-centric world.

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Gian Merlino, an original creator of Apache Druid and Imply co-founder and CTO, addressed Druid Summit attendees and unveiled Project Shapeshift. The focus of Project Shapeshift is along three strategic pillars: cloud-native, simple and complete. Together, the innovations will radically simplify the Druid experience and extend the architecture to become an end-to-end solution for powering modern analytics applications.


As development teams increasingly desire databases as cloud services, Imply is embarking on a mission to build a serverless and elastic consumption experience for Apache Druid. While Druid natively is a microservices-based architecture designed for the cloud, Imply is developing a control plane that removes tuning parameters, abstracts hardware boundaries for auto-scaling, integrates natively with other cloud services, and enables usage-based pricing.

The net result will be a true SaaS service for Apache Druid that accelerates developer agility.


Simplicity is a core focus for Imply as developers want Druid performance without complexity or requiring specialized expertise. Imply is driving an overall improvement to the ease of use across data ingestion, queries and cluster operations, to deliver the most developer-friendly database for analytics applications. , Imply is taking a major step forward announcing the intent to extend its powerful SQL API from querying to ingestion, processing and transformation.

This new SQL API will simplify developer cycles, while retaining the core power of Apache Druid.


Thousands of organizations have turned to Apache Druid as the core engine for their analytics applications because of the interactive data experience that Druid uniquely delivers at scale. As the importance of these applications expands, developers are now being asked to deliver more functionality and capabilities that extend beyond interactivity – including reporting for large result sets and long-running queries and complex conditional alerting across millions of objects.

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Imply will be undertaking a substantial architectural expansion, built on top of Apache Druid, to enable more flexibility and analytics capabilities for applications. This includes introducing a new multi-stage, decoupled query layer seamlessly integrated with the core Druid database engine that together will deliver an end-to-end solution for powering modern analytics applications. For developers and architects, Imply’s new integrated architecture will uniquely enable them to support all of their analytics requirements for their applications in one platform.

“We saw the impact that our friends at Confluent had when they launched their industry-defining Project Metamorphosis,” said Gian Merlino, an original creator of Apache Druid, and Imply co-founder and CTO. “Establishing a path forward to massive adoption of a new data infrastructure lies in a strong commitment to advancing the underlying open source technology combined with a dedication to re-engineer the very foundation of that technology to be truly cloud-native. It’s an outcome that can only be achieved by the original creators of the open source technology supported by the organization they lead. This is what Project Shapeshift is all about, and over the next 12 months there will be product updates for both Druid and Imply.”

Other keynote speakers at Druid Summit included Fangjin Yang, co-author of the open-source Apache Druid project and CEO and co-founder of Imply, who discussed building modern analytics applications with Druid and its place in the modern data world. Also, Jay Kreps, CEO and co-founder of Confluent and one of the original creators of Apache Kafka®, discussed how modern data infrastructures are evolving and how the combination of Kafka + Druid enables organizations (including Confluent) to accomplish critical new use cases.

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