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 proprietary-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 Google and Amazon both calling upon the startup to provide Hadoop for their infrastructure services.

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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