Hadoop processes a profit

Op-Ed: ‘Big data’ becomes big money

Elliot Bentley

As Cloudera snag an extra $65m in their latest funding round, investors seem confident in big data’s economic potential.

broke late last week that Cloudera, producers of one of the most
popular commercial Hadoop distributions, had closed their latest
round of funding with
an extra $65 million in the coffers

It’s the latest indication that any lingering doubts regarding
the ‘big data’ phenomenon should be dispelled, as investors fight
for a piece of the still-growing pie.

Cloudera’s growth has been astounding: having been founded in
2008, the company’s current worth is now pegged at “about $700
million” by
All Things D
, who were also told by CFO Jim Frankola that
“revenue and number of customers [are] roughly doubling every
year”. Whatever the exact numbers, it’s clear just from the

customer base
– which already includes the likes of eBay,
Samsung and Disney – that the company has come far in just four
short years.

While indicative of Cloudera’s own success, this investment equally
speaks volumes about the burgeoning ‘big data’ ecosystem. Splunk,
an older ‘business intelligence’ provider, was floated onto the
stock market at $17 a share – making the nine-year-old company
worth a whopping $1.57 billion. DataStax, meanwhile, who have
branched out from Cassandra to integrating Hadoop and Solr into
their enterprise product, profited handsomely with a
$25m investment
in early October.

Let’s not forget, however, this big money being generated by ‘big
data’ is mostly thanks to the open source community and Doug
Cutting’s yellow elephant. Jonathan Gray, who previously worked
with HBase at Facebook and is now CTO of
, told JAXenter last week that “when we talk about
‘big data’, we’re basically just talking about Hadoop”.

Having been born within the fiery infrastructure pits of tech
giants such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo, underlying big data
platforms have matured to the point where they are now being
adopted by enterprises outside of the tech bubble, albeit in
sanitised distributions. The parallel development and hyping of
non-relational databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra has helped,
too, making data capture and storage more feasible.

This hasn’t happened by accident. It’s the companies like Cloudera,
Hortonworks and MapR that have pushed ahead not only the open
source efforts, but the commercial adoption and promotion of Hadoop
and its related technologies. The huge amounts of money being
invested in said companies, not to mention related startups like
Continuuity, is proof that investors are confident the market is
ripe for the picking.

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