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May 14, 2015

Gartner: Hadoop Adoption ‘Fairly Anemic’

Enterprise adoption of Hadoop remains “tentative,” according to a new survey, as lingering challenges posed by doubts about the business value of the software framework and database skills gap hinder uptake.

Market researcher Gartner Inc. reported this week that only 125 respondents to a recent survey of 284 clients said they have invested in Hadoop or plan to over the next two years. The survey was conducted between February and March of this year.

“Despite considerable hype and reported successes for early adopters, 54 percent of survey respondents report no plans to invest at this time, while only 18 percent have plans to invest in Hadoop over the next two years,” Nick Heudecker, Gartner’s research director, noted in a statement releasing the survey results.

“Furthermore, the early adopters don’t appear to be championing for substantial Hadoop adoption over the next 24 months; in fact, there are fewer who plan to begin in the next two years than already have.”

The findings run counter to enthusiastic reports of expanded deployment of Hadoop, the framework that enables distributed processing of large datasets across clusters of computers. Among Hadoop’s advantages is its ability to scale up from single servers to thousands of machines with local compute and storage.

But the Gartner survey found that only 26 percent of respondents are either deploying or experimenting with Hadoop while a mere 11 percent plan to invest in it over the next 12 months. Seven percent said they considering investing over the next two years.

Among the reasons for low adoption rates was a lack of urgency in deploying Hadoop. It is “simply not a priority,” respondents told Gartner. Executives also complained that “Hadoop was overkill for the problems the business faced, implying the opportunity costs of implementing Hadoop were too high relative to the expected benefit,” Gartner said.

Hence, the researcher concluded, future demand for Hadoop “looks fairly anemic over at least the next 24 months.”

Other market researchers such as Wikibon are more bullish about Hadoop adoption. (Source: Wikibon)

Along with return-on-investment concerns, potential users of Hadoop also expressed concerns about a continuing skills gap as a “major adoption inhibitor.” Fifty-seven percent of respondents cited a lack of skills as a reason for holding off on Hadoop investments.

“Tooling vendors claim their products also address the skills gap,” Gartner noted. “While tools are improving, they primarily support highly skilled users rather than elevate the skills already available in most enterprises.”

While some vendors of Hadoop distributions are offering a variety of training options to address the skills gap, Gartner reckons the shortfall will remain for at for the next several years.

Moreover, respondents deploying Hadoop reported that only small numbers of users were accessing clusters, with 70 percent reporting between one and 20 Hadoop users. Even more troubling, four percent reported zero users.

Gartners’ Heudecker noted that early Hadoop projects typically involve small user groups while the Hadoop stack “remains unsuitable for simultaneous use by multiple users.” Still, Heudecker added, “the best explanation for the small number of Hadoop users is the skills shortage.”

The findings do not bode well for future adoption of Hadoop, the survey found. “One of the core value propositions of Hadoop is that it is a lower cost option to traditional information infrastructure,” Heudecker concluded. “However, the low numbers of users relative to the cost of cluster hardware, as well as any software support costs, may mean Hadoop is failing to live up to this promise.”

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