Sticking With Open Source
In contrast to Cloudera, MapR, Pivotal and IBM, all of which offer Hadoop distributions that include proprietary components, Hortonworks' constant refrain is that it's focused on "100% open source" Hadoop. That choice will help customers avoid vendor lock-in, and it will also ensure that Hadoop becomes an "enterprise viable" platform, says McJannet.
"Hadoop came to fruition through the open source community, and it should remain open source in order for the market to adopt it at scale," he said. "That allows us to stay very close to the trunk of the open source projects."
Hortonworks' strategy isn't just selflessness. If customers buy into open-source purism, the service-and-support option of choice will be Hortonworks. The strategy also fits with Hortonworks' software development business. Microsoft, for example, relied on Horton to develop a Windows-compatible version of Hadoop, which was contributed back to the open-source community. Teradata worked with Hortonworks on HCatalog and SQL-H because these are crucial tools that will help Teradata extend its data warehousing business into the big data era.
[ Want more on Hadoop's future with the YARN? Read Hadoop 2.0: New Big Data Possibilities. ]
"Teradata was interested in HCatalog because it understands the power of metadata," said Gartner analyst Merv Adrian, who spoke to InformationWeek before his Wednesday keynote at Hadoop Summit. If, as Gartner believes, Hadoop's role is as an adjunct to and synergistic with the data warehouse, all roads lead through the metadata."
While its competitors seem intent on expanding their software portfolios with commercial components, Hortonworks sticks with pure open source and seems only too happy to take a back seat to companies like Microsoft and Teradata. With Teradata's push into distributing Hortonworks' software, for example, the database vendor is also ramping up Hadoop consulting, training and support services that would otherwise go to Hortonworks.
"Teradata has been helping companies with their data problems for 30-plus years," Hortonworks marketing executive John Kreisa told InformationWeek. "Teradata has relationships with customers at a breadth that we're just not going to get to at Hortonworks. They also have experience with global data centers and in-country, local-language support, so it's a great extension and amplification of our capabilities."
According to one top executive who partners with both Cloudera and Hortonworks (and who, therefore, wishes to remain anonymous), Hortonworks is putting serious price pressure on Cloudera, the leading Hadoop software distributor and support provider. Cloudera is spending thousands of dollars to uncover and nurture customer leads, yet Hortonworks routinely shows up on RFPs without much effort and tends to undercut on price, according to this source.
Merv Adrian of Gartner doesn't see it quite that way. "The ramp-up and visibility at Hortonworks is on track, they're coming in on the short lists we're being asked about and they're winning their share of deals, but there's no evidence in Gartner data that says they're taking over the world," he said.
What Adrian and others confirm -- and what the deepening Teradata partnership shows -- is that Hadoop in general is getting to be very big and very entrenched.
"We believe that 50% of world's data will be processed with Hadoop within the next few years," said Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden during his opening remarks at the Hadoop Summit. If reality comes even close to that mark, Hortonworks will be a very busy, fast-growing company for years to come.
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