At Cloudera's third annual analyst day in San Francisco, I had a long-standing view reinforced by its team – Hadoop is making the transition from being a technology seeking broader acceptance outside the world of Internet business to becoming an acknowledged solution in the enterprise information management toolbox. It's time to forget the big data hype and focus on how Hadoop and its ever-expanding ecosystem can be applied to real-world problems in enterprises, the kind that get checks signed by executive sponsors.
Hadoop is about solving those data problems your current information management capabilities cannot
Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly talked about three traits Cloudera customers can expect from the company: fast, easy, and secure. Of this list, the biggest challenge for new adopters is likely to be found in making Hadoop easy; a growing ecosystem of Hadoop-enhancing tools is helping address that, along with expanding support from services firms, ranging from specialists through to global systems integrators (SIs). Perhaps more interesting were Mr. Reilly's four boardroom "levers" – topics at front of mind for senior executives across industries:
Drive customer insights – I've said it before, but the 360-degree view of the customer is back. The difference? This time the technology exists to actually do it.
Improve product and service efficiency – To me, this topic speaks to the Internet of Things – think managing supply chains or retail stores using sensor data.
Lower business risks – One of the best use cases for big data – real-time threat detection / cybersecurity – is clearly in Cloudera's sights.
Modernize architecture – The information management approaches of the past are groaning under the weight of new data challenges. Hadoop, in my view, provides much needed elasticity to handle this weight.
Cloudera's highlighting of these themes is a continuation of a path I strongly endorse; for many, big data, and Hadoop as a technology in that market, remains magic pixie dust; it needs to get enterprise-ready, and being seen as an enabling technology to business priorities is an excellent way to achieve that.
Cracking the enterprise is not just about big ideas though. For a company with the word "cloud" in its name, Cloudera has not talked a great deal about the cloud, until recently. While I can't talk about specifics (due to NDA), I can talk about what has led Cloudera to talking more on this subject: data is increasingly generated and stored in the cloud, often talked about as "data gravity"; flexible resourcing, or scale-up/down and test/dev, for example, is growing in importance; and cloud is becoming a fact of life for many enterprises.
I mentioned Hadoop providing much needed elasticity to inflexible "traditional" information architectures – the cloud is a natural and essential complement to that principle. Match this IT imperative to those business priorities and it feels like Cloudera is moving strongly toward making Hadoop enterprise-ready.
Tom M. Pringle, Head of Applications Research