For several years now, much of the hype surrounding big data has been connected with Hadoop. Companies have simply seen Hadoop as intertwined with the big data movement; where one goes, the other follows, and as a result, the future was bright for Hadoop and the vendors who offered it. Much of that fervor was struck a disconcerting blow when a recent Gartner report seemed to put a damper on Hadoop’s positive outlook. The report found that among those surveyed, the demand for Hadoop was not accelerating as expected and that enthusiasm for Hadoop was low despite the growing demand for big data solutions. Even more alarming, a majority of enterprises surveyed — 54 percent — had no plans to invest in Hadoop either now or in the future. Needless to say, the results from the report have lead to a number of strong reactions from experts in the tech community. Some call it a warning sign to Hadoop vendors, while others insist the report is not reflective of the industry as a whole.

Based off of the findings of Gartner’s report, most would predict that demand for Hadoop in the future would struggle to increase or, as the report’s authors put it, would be “fairly anemic.” While other big data analytics technologies still receive lots of interest and attention from companies, Hadoop appears to be suffering from a decline in demand. There are a number of reasons for this notable drop. Most significant is what is often called the Hadoop skills gap. The report found that the biggest challenge businesses found was the lack of people with the necessary Hadoop skills to make the best use of it. Hadoop certainly can be a versatile tool, but its operational complexity is admittedly high. Others said the costs of deploying Hadoop were simply too much for the benefits promised. The benefits were never denied, only that they seemed like overkill for the problems companies wanted solved.

Reaction to the report has been swift. Many have pointed to the continued success of numerous Hadoop vendors like Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR as evidence that Hadoop remains a force to be reckoned with. Cloudera, for example, is valued at around $5 billion and could double its annual revenue in 2015. Hortonworks has also grown revenue by more than 150 percent from year to year. So how can these financial results square with the somewhat dismal prediction painted by Gartner’s report? Some claim that those willing and able to use Hadoop have already bought into it, leaving the rest to shy away and pursue other big data technologies. Others say Hadoop vendors’ success isn’t as laudable as it appears on the surface since some vendors, like Hortonworks, still haven’t been able to reach their valuation estimates. Hadoop defenders are quick to say that Gartner’s predictions are simply misinformed and don’t show the true growth of the Hadoop market either currently or in the future.

It’s important to note that the Gartner report is just one analysis, albeit an influential one. Other experts have differing opinions on what the future holds for Hadoop. For instance, Forrester has stated that Hadoop has true value for the enterprise and that 2015 will be the year CIOs make Hadoop a priority. Wall Street investors have been more than willing to invest in Hadoop vendors, which shows confidence in the future. Hadoop customers themselves have seen impressively positive results and swear by the technology’s effectiveness. Their glowing results and reviews could lead to a greater wave of Hadoop adoption in the future. As for the problem of skills shortages, many Hadoop defenders maintain that it is only a temporary problem and not a long term one.

No matter how one interprets Gartner’s findings, there are still things that Hadoop vendors can do to ensure a more secure future. Most of them address some of the challenges and obstacles faced by companies, particularly Hadoop’s operational complexity. If Hadoop vendors can make Hadoop easier to use and lower the barriers to adoption, more companies may be willing to take the risk. Moving Hadoop to the cloud may be one way to solve that particular challenge. Hadoop vendors should also look at integrating other big data technologies that can complement Hadoop as a way to diversify their offerings. The Gartner report shouldn’t simply be ignored, but the future it predicts isn’t set in stone either. Hadoop has a lot to offer, meaning there’s potential for continued growth well into the future.

Rik DelgadoRick Delgado- I’ve been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of freelance writing. I love to write about new technologies and keeping ourselves secure in a changing digital landscape. I occasionally write articles for several companies, including Dell.

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