Big data begs a big question: does Hadoop replace your enterprise data warehouse or augment it? The two leading vendors of Hadoop distributions offer very different answers.
For Cloudera, the first vendor to offer a Hadoop distribution, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Last November, Cloudera finally exposed its true sentiments by introducing the Enterprise Data Hub in which Hadoop replaces the data warehouse, among other things, as the center of an organization's data management strategy. In contrast, Hortonworks takes a hybrid approach, partnering with leading commercial data management and analytics vendors to create a data environment that blends the best of Hadoop and commercial software. In short, Cloudera offers revolution, Hortonworks evolution.
Moreover, the two Hadoop providers have diametrically opposed product strategies. Hortonworks is an open source purist, offering only Apache Foundation certified software, while Cloudera now sells commercial software on top of its open source distribution. Hortonworks believes embedding Hadoop into existing data platforms is the fastest way to grow its services and support business, while Cloudera sees itself more as traditional software provider that profits from product sales and competes with other commercial software providers.
To support its unilateral, product-based approach, Cloudera delivers all its premium components for one price. These include real-time data (HBase) real-time queries (Impala), search (Apache Solr), in-memory processing (Spark), and data access control (Navigator). For its part, Hortonworks has worked with partners to integrate Hadoop with Windows (Microsoft), Linux (Red Hat), as well as databases, ETL, BI, and analytics tools and upgrade Hadoop to version 2, which became generally available last fall. The bottom line is that Hortonworks partners, Cloudera competes.*
It's too early to tell which vendor and strategy will succeed in the fast-moving big data marketplace. Each seems to be getting traction. In the first quarter since its announcement, Cloudera sold eight enterprise data hubs. Its customers are attracted by the low price point--Enterprise Data Hub is 10 to 100 times less expensive per terabyte than commercial data platforms--and its simple, straightforward architecture, which eliminates the need to move big data among various data processing platforms. In turn, Hortonworks announced in December that is has grown its partner community by 240% in 2013. By working closely with partners to write and contribute open source code, Hortonworks believes it's accelerating the use of Hadoop and turning it into mainstream infrastructure.
Both companies are merging the worlds of Hadoop and traditional data management platforms. It's just that Cloudera is merging them within a product line, while Hortonworks is merging them within customer accounts with hybrid software. Given how slowly the majority of organizations implement new technologies, I'd bet on Hortonworks to have steady, long-term growth. On the other hand, I'd bet on Cloudera to push the state-of-the-art in Hadoop innovation, as it already has.
* Cloudera has informed me that it has 800 partners.
Posted February 6, 2014 5:24 PM
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