Channel technologies, Channel partner programs, Enterprise

Hadoop Demands Channel Partners

Hadoop, the big data storage platform, is gaining momentum in existing enterprise accounts -- and could attract plenty of new customers over the next 12 months, according to a global survey of more than 2,000 IT and data management leaders worldwide. The big question: Does Hadoop have enough channel partners to fulfill all that demand?

At first glance, the survey findings are overwhelmingly positive. In particular, they seem to eliminate question marks raised by Gartner's mixed Hadoop outlook from earlier this year. Indeed, 76 percent of customers that already run Hadoop plan to increase their activity with the software over the next three months. Only 3 percent plan to cut back on their Hadoop work over the near year. Perhaps most impressively, nearly half of customers that haven't deployed Hadoop yet say they plan to do so over the next year, according to the survey results.

The findings reinforce many of the thoughts Hortonworks shared with me in a podcast earlier this year (Podcast 039: Hortonworks VP Shaun Connolly).

Still, the Hadoop Maturity Survey was produced by AtScale, Cloudera, HortonWorks, MapR, and Tableau -- key vendors that have a vested interest in Hadoop's adoption. In some ways, it's like Microsoft asking customers if they plan to increase consumption of Windows during the operating system's early days -- right around the time Windows was nearing its tipping point. The logical answer from most customers: Absolutely.

Hadoop in the IT Channel

Whether you lean toward's Gartner's view (Hadoop demand is growing, though perhaps not as fast as expected) or this report's findings (Hadoop adoption is accelerating rapidly), there's a clear market opportunity awaiting channel partners.

Generally speaking, the major Hadoop providers -- Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR -- have relatively young channel partner programs. But they're evolving rapidly.

matt morgan

“The partner channel in the emerging big data world is much different than the classic channel," Matt Morgan (pictured), VP of product and alliance marketing at Hortonworks, told me at a conference this year. "We’re seeing a mix of systems integrators, next-generation ISVs and what I would call Hadoop specialists and boutique shops that know a specific platform. The next-generation ISVs are really emerging now.”

Among the key areas of opportunities for channel partners: Setting up Hadoop for business intelligence systems. Another opportunity: transforming Hadoop into a self-service system for end-users. Roughly 60 percent of survey respondents complain about a lack of self-service Hadoop. And organizations that provide business users with self-service access are nearly 50 percent more likely to receive tangible value, the survey found.

True believers include American Express, which leverages MapR's Hadoop distribution for machine learning projects, the financial giant confirmed to Information Management.

Startups like BlueData are helping customers to speed on-premises Hadoop and big data deployments (ChannelE2E Podcast 44: BlueData CEO Kumar Sreekanti). I'm also wondering if more and more Hadoop projects will shift to public clouds, where the open source big data platform is now widely available on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other major systems.

Still, Hadoop could face new competition -- particularly from Spark, another open source platform, whose backers include IBM. Hadoop backers like Cloudera downplay the Spark competition, insisting that the two technologies are complementary (ChannelE2E Podcast 043: Cloudera Chief Technologist Eli Collins).

Hadoop's Next Moves

Much like Linux nearly two decades ago, multiple Hadoop distributions are maturing rapidly -- with a range of security, compliance, high availability and manageability capabilities arriving at regular intervals.

I suspect we'll hear plenty of Hadoop channel and alliance news at Strata+Hadoop World (Sept. 29-Oct. 1, New York).

Among the other good ways to track Hadoop's progress: Check out Information Management, a leading website that covers the world of data management, analytics and data science. (Disclosure: ChannelE2E's parent, After Nines Inc., has been involved in content management for that site.) Also, keep an eye on Hortonworks' quarterly earnings results. While most rivals remain privately held, Hortonworks is public and the company's earnings calls provide plenty of market insight.



Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.