The heat is on

MapR raise $30m as Hadoop vendor competition heats up

Chris Mayer

An extra $30m in the bank should help MapR to compete with the giants crashing the Hadoop distribution market

One of the first companies to commercialise Hadoop continue to
reap rewards, with the news that MapR Technologies has sealed a
$30m Series C round of financing.

The funding round led by Mayfield Fund brings
MapR’s total investment to a cool $59m,
since opening in 2011. The company will use the funding for
further expansion into the Asia Pacific market , having opened
London and Munich offices this year already, as well as continued
“investment in research and development”.

The investment comes at an ideal time, with the
race for Hadoop supremacy hotting up. The old guard of Cloudera,
MapR and Hortonworks who were first to offer distributions
containing the data processing framework now face
mighty and deep-pocketed
opponents in the likes of IBM, Intel and EMC’s Greenplum
Pivotal HD.

The arrival of the latter
has spawned
concerns over the direction of certain distributions, with many
moving towards a
-only model without truly giving
much back to the open source version of Hadoop.

MapR may well be putting out two distributions
(one free and one paid) but the company still hold open source in
high regard. MapR’s interactive querying engine
Apache Drill
arrived in the Apache Incubator
last August, with a bold reinvention of Google Dremel’s SQL type
queries brought to Hadoop.

They’re not the only vendor
donating their Hadoop modifications back to the
community – for example,
Cloudera have also open-sourced a
similar project in Impala. Other vendors
however, are looking to iterative on the
existing codebase, such as Hortonworks’
Stinger Initiative
to tune up
Hive, a spinoff data warehouse project.

In comparison, the new breed of Hadoop
distributions offer less innovation and instead an enterprise-ready
package with a trusted vendor label on top.

MapR are comfortably the smallest vendor of the
group, and far from a household name. However, they are ideally
placed in other respects. Being one of the first to
market has given them a headstart and the experience needed,
leading to respected heavyweights

both calling
upon the startup to provide Hadoop for their infrastructure

The market still remains wide open, however, and
a clear leader in the Hadoop race has yet to be established. MapR’s
unique selling point for now appears to be its enhanced HDFS
replacement, but it remains to be seen if it is enough to stand out
among the crowd.

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