For almost as long as there’s been Hadoop, there’s been enterprise Hadoop. Hadoop was created in 2005 by Mike Cafarella and Doug Cutting, a former Yahoo employee. In 2009, former employees from Oracle, Google, Yahoo and Facebook established Cloudera, a company aimed at providing enterprise-ready Hadoop solutions to customers, as well as training and services. But this was not to be a one-horse race- two years later, Hortonworks was established with a similar mission statement, and substantial funding from Yahoo. In this article, we’ll be examining these two titans of the enterprise Hadoop market, looking at differences, strengths, and whether or not the market is healthy enough to sustain two such similar enterprises.

Hortonworks and Cloudera- What’s the Difference?

They both offer the same basic service to their customers- enterprise-ready Hadoop with greater security and stability as well as training for companies unfamiliar with the technology. Many have drawn the dividing line down how Hortonworks and Cloudera approach data warehouses, suggesting Hortonworks want to complement existing data warehouse storage and Cloudera want to do away with it altogether. Yet if you look at how Cloudera’s suggested deployment for its Enterprise Data Hub, it does incorporate legacy warehouse storage. A greater distinction can be found in what technologies the companies offer. Hortonworks are open-source purists, using only technology that’s open-sourced through the Apache Foundation; when you pay for Cloudera, you pay for a whole stack of proprietary and open source components, including online NoSQL (HBase), analytic SQL (Impala), in-memory processing and machine learning (Apache Spark) and data management (Cloudera Manager).

Hortonworks vs. Cloudera- The Competition

Hortonworks Cloudera
Money raised $225 million $900 million ($740 million from a recent partnership with Intel)
Customers Added 250 customers in the past five quarters; big names include Spotify, ebay, Bloomberg and Samsung. Estimated around the 350-mark. Big names include Nokia, Mastercard, BT and ebay (curiously appearing on both Hortonworks’ and Cloudera’s customer lists)
Partners Around 300 listed on their website, including SAP, HP and Dell- a full list can be found here. Over 1,000, including HP, IBM, Intel… a full list can be found here.

Hortonworks vs. Cloudera- Death or Glory?

Although Cloudera is an older, more established company, both enterprises seem to have sizable and healthy market shares. Not to mention the fact that other enterprise Hadoop vendors continue to build customer bases and accrue significant funding; MapR announced a six-figure funding round last week. It seems strange that so much discussion around Hortonworks and Cloudera frames it as “death or glory” race, when both continue to expand the businesses and we’re far from a monopoly on the market. Speaking at the Hadoop summit last month, Wikibon analyst Jeff Kelly conceded: “One company will come ahead of the other, and they both want that top spot, but there is enough room in this market. You’ll have a winner, a second place, and maybe even a third a little way back.” Wikibon recently estimated the big data market will be worth $50 billion by 2017– even without the top spot, both companies look set to make substantial profits in the years to come.With both companies offering different Hadoop models, with connectors and integrations for different partners, it looks to me as though enterprise Hadoop is far from a one-horse race.

(Image credit: Flickr)

Eileen McNulty-Holmes – Editor


Eileen has five years’ experience in journalism and editing for a range of online publications. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Exeter, and is particularly interested in big data’s application in humanities. She is a native of Shropshire, United Kingdom.


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