Hadoop Comes of Age for Business
June 28, 2013
 
Apache Hadoop, the open source analytic framework, is like a cult band that finds sudden fame after being on the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Most organizations have been experimenting with Hadoop in the dark corners of their data centers, and those that are using it on live production data are usually cagey about specifics. Credible success stories are hard to find. But the potential is undeniable, and a raft of specialized consultancies and established technology vendors are beginning to offer services making it easier for companies to use the new technology.
 
If Hadoop success stories are hard to find outside the Web, it’s in part because the technology is complex, and is not easy to integrate with existing business systems run by most large corporations. Crossed wires could cause system-wide issues, making it hard for IT to make a business case for the software. As David Stone, an enterprise architect who specializes in analytics at Home Depot Inc. , said Thursday during a panel discussion at the Hadoop Summit in San Jose, Calif., “it’s hard to explain how innovative something is when it’s not running.”
 
Not surprisingly, an ecosystem of vendors that help companies implement Hadoop has begun to emerge, and established vendors are announcing integration options for Hadoop. Attendance at the Hadoop Summit itself, where many of these announcements were made, has also skyrocketed.
 
John Kreisa, vice president of marketing at Hortonworks Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in helping customers implement Hadoop software, told CIO Journal he was expecting some 2,500 people to attend the conference this year, compared to “around 80 or 100” six years ago. A new version of Hadoop, announced Wednesday, may help too.
 
Cowen & Co. analyst Peter Goldmacher said in a note to clients that, “Hadoop is currently inaccessible to the core data warehouse customer dependent on the interactivity of Oracle and Teradata , but steady advancements around ease of use and front end tools make the case for Hadoop stronger every day.” He also notes that competition from Hadoop will drive down prices of existing proprietary technologies sold by the likes of Oracle Corp. and Teradata Corp.
 
As customers eventually comes to grips with the technology, they’ll eventually need to change their approach to data analysis itself. Ron Bodkin, the founder and CEO of Think Big, tells CIO Journal “the move to Big Data is not a small, incremental step. It’s a major transition, like the adoption of the Internet in the 1990s.” He says customers need to develop a procedural and intellectual roadmap that helps them evolve from decision-making driven by analysis of historical data to real-time decision-making that will ultimately require hiring new people with new skills, altering their supply chains, and overhauling their logistics.
 
Here is a sampling of some of the vendor announcements that came out of the Hadoop Summit:
 
Teradata introduced Portfolio for Hadoop, which offers customers Hadoop-based product platforms, software, consulting services, training and customer support. Customers include Dell Inc Wells Fargo & Co Swisscom AG and others.
 
Hortonworks received $50 million in funding and announced management packs for Microsoft Corp. ’s System Center Operations Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager that will manage and monitor Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), a 100-percent open source data platform powered by Apache Hadoop, for both Windows and Linux deployments.
 
MapR said it has new customers including Ancestry.com, Quicken Loans, and Live Nation Entertainment Inc. It recently announced a new partnership with VMware Inc.
 
Data processing company DataTorrent Inc. announced that it has raised $8 million in series A funding.
 
Informatica Corp. and Simba Technologies announced a partnership improving analytic functionality for the MongoDB and Cassandra databases.
 
Splunk Inc. announced a new product that integrates exploration, analysis and visualization of data in Hadoop.
 
Pentaho Corp. is partnering with cloud infrastructure vendor Rackspace Hosting Inc. to help companies move workloads in and out of cloud environments.

Michael Hickins