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February 22, 2012

Latest Hadoop, Analytics Partnership Unfolds

Robert Gelber

Less than a month ago, Hadoop distributer and Hortonworks competitor, Cloudera announced a partnership with Oracle, which sped the already-rolling ball of Hadoop startups matching with established analytics vendors.

The big data alliance du jour, however, is Hortonworks and analytics giant Teradata. According to the partnership, which was announced this week, Teradata will utilize the Hadoop platform to discover new ways to analyze big data, and Hortonworks will be able to extend its footprint with a larger client base and a veteran analytics partner.

Both companies will jointly develop products like new algorithms for data mining and a reference architecture for companies to understand best practices for Hadoop. Current Teradata users will receive Hadoop support along with their current offerings, meaning that clients can receive analytics input from Teradata, and support from Hortonworks with their Hadoop implementation.

Advanced analytics have been increasing in popularity as companies search for ways to discover previously unknown relationships between un-structured and non-traditional data types like pictures, twitter posts and clicks. Hadoop was born as an open-source platform, used to assist search engine companies, who needed to process and analyze extremely large and unstructured data sets.

The partnership between Hortonworks and Teradata may provide an indication of increasing enterprise demand for Hadoop functionality and big data analytics as a whole—bringing that same functionality that it was purpose-built for to a new audience.

The business model for some Hadoop distributors like Hortonworks involves attracting customers and increasing adoption by giving some of the software away for free and hoping that sales of full distributions and support contracts will follow. Other distributors may offer consulting and analytics contracts using Hadoop as a feature. Shaun Connolly, Hortonworks vice president of corporate strategy even expressed that Hortonworks was created to “bring Hadoop to the business community”

Teradata has been around for more than 30 years and uses advanced analytics to assist clients in both the private and public sectors. In a recent video, for instance, they explain how the state of Michigan uses a data warehouse to share data across 9 state agencies. Advanced analytics are used to better determine how much government aid is distributed to food assistance recipients, reduce Medicare fraud and even help track parents who owe child support. The state estimates savings in excess of $1 million a day using the data warehouse.

Hadoop comes in many flavors with distributions from vendors like Cloudera, Amazon, and IBM. Quentin Hardy of the New York Times wrote of the partnership yesterday and mentioned that Hadoop is “still something of an emerging technology” and that alliances for distribution providers will determine how quickly adoption will take place in the industry.