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September 27, 2013

Is Intel Raining on the Hadoop Distro Startup Parade?

Isaac Lopez

When Intel joined the Hadoop distro game this past February, one of the big questions was what Intel would bring to the Hadoop mix that wasn’t already there in an increasingly crowding market. The answer, of course, was (and is) Intel’s unmatched credibility in the enterprise.

The race has been on for some time among Hadoop distro vendors to turn their versions of Hadoop into an “enterprise-ready” entity ready to take on the data grind of the large-scale enterprise. And while a few of them have made excellent progress in elevating their brands and demonstrating through case examples of what their Hadoop models can do, none of them has the widespread credibility across the enterprise of the 46-year-old silicon gorilla.

This month, Intel flexed some of that muscle by locking arms with two other vendors that share plenty of credibility with the large-scale enterprise set – SAP and Oracle.  In an announcement earlier this month SAP announced that they had partnered up with both Intel and Hortonworks to be a reseller for their respective Hadoop distributions. In a similar announcement at Oracle’s OpenWorld this past week, Oracle announced that they are currently in the process of certifying Intel’s distribution for Apache Hadoop using Oracle’s Big Data Connectors.

Observing their statements, it’s clear that Intel’s credibility with their customers meant the world to these companies.

“As SAP tried to look into big data, what we were looking for was a partner that we could go into our customer base with that could help make Hadoop an enterprise capable feature – not just a startup feature,” said Robert Clopp, a Database CTO with SAP, underscoring the mindshare that Intel possesses with them – without Intel having had to actually fight in the Hadoop wars up to this point.

Currently, there are approximately nine Hadoop distribution vendors, all with varying degrees of resources, funding, and market share. At this point, it’s unlikely that there will be any more new Hadoop-focused data management platform vendors – it’s all downhill from here. The stage is set like the beginning of a “Final Destination” movie, with the audience wondering which of the bright young kids gets taken out, and in which order. It’s inevitable, as no software market can sustain this many vendors competing over the same slice of pie.

As entrenched vendors like Oracle and SAP choose to cross port to Intel’s distribution, that’s one less space on their dance card for any of the other Hadoop start-ups to fill. These opportunities take a lot of resources for vendors to execute, so there are a limited amount of partnership opportunities to go around. As one looks higher up the application stack, where a growing long tail of analytic tools and application vendors are entering the boiling pot – in most cases, these vendors will have the resources to pick one – maybe two Hadoop distros to tie their business to – a decision that will mean the difference between life and death for virtually all of their businesses – and ultimately for the Hadoop distribution players.

The summer of Hadoop has ended, and as they say – winter is coming.

Related items:

SAP Brings Hadoop Closer to the Vest 

Intel Hitches Xeon to Hadoop Wagon 

A Tale of Two Hadoop Journeys