Just when some big data tools seem to be hitting a wall, along comes Apache Spark -- an open source platform for fast data processing. Seemingly overnight, Spark has inspired startups like Databricks and giants like IBM to promote a new approach for real-time analytics.

In reality, this isn't an overnight revolution. Apache Spark was originally developed at UC Berkeley in 2009. Several years later, Databricks was founded by the creators of Spark in 2013. But the noise has grown especially loud at this week's Spark Summit in San Francisco -- where IBM is predicting the start of another software revolution.

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