Hortonworks And Cloudera To Merge

Ashley Stirrup analyzes the merger of the two largest Hadoop vendors:

Overall, this is great news for customers, the Hadoop ecosystem and the future of the market.  Both company’s customers can now sleep at night knowing that the pace of innovation from Cloudera 2.0 will continue and accelerate.  Combining the Cloudera and Hortonworks technologies means that instead of having to pick one stack or the other, now customers can have the best of both worlds. The statement from their press release “From the Edge to AI” really sums up how complementary some of the investments that Hortonworks made in IoT complement Cloudera’s investments in machine learning.  From an ecosystem and innovation perspective, we’ll see fewer competing Apache projects with much stronger investments.  This can only mean better experiences for any user of big data open source technologies.

At the same time, it’s no secret how much our world is changing with innovation coming in so many shapes and sizes.  This is the world that Cloudera 2.0 must navigate.  Today, winning in the cloud is quite simply a matter of survival.  That is just as true for the new Cloudera as it is for every single company in every industry in the world.  The difference is that Cloudera will be competing with a wide range of cloud-native companies both big and small that are experiencing explosive growth.  Carving out their place in this emerging world will be critical.

The company has so many of the right pieces including connectivity, computing, and machine learning.  Their challenge will be, making all of it simple to adopt in the cloud while continuing to generate business outcomes. Today we are seeing strong growth from cloud data warehouses like Amazon RedshiftSnowflakeAzure SQL Data Warehouse and Google Big Query.  Apache Spark and service players like Databricks and Qubole are also seeing strong growth.  Cloudera now has decisions to make on how they approach this ecosystem and they choose to compete with and who they choose to complement.

Rob Bearden on the Hortonworks side:

Cloudera has a like-minded approach to next generation data management and analytics solutions for hybrid deployments. Like Hortonworks, Cloudera believes data can drive high velocity business model transformations, and has innovated in ways that benefit the market and create new revenue opportunities. We are confident that our combined company will be ideally positioned to redefine the future of data as we extend our leadership and expand our offerings.

This transformational event will create benefits and growth opportunities for our stakeholders. Together with Cloudera, we will accelerate market development, fuel innovation and produce substantial benefits for our customers, partners, employees and the community.

By merging Cloudera’s investments in data warehousing and machine learning with Hortonworks’ investments in end-to-end data management, we are generating a winning combination, which will establish the standard for hybrid cloud data management.

Mike Olson on the Cloudera side:

We’re announcing the combination today, but we don’t expect the deal to close for several months. We’ll undergo the normal regulatory review that any merger of scale involving public companies gets, and the shareholders from both companies will have to meet and approve the deal.

Between now and the close date, we remain independent companies. Our customers are running our respective products. Our sales teams are working separate from each other with current and new customers to win more business and to make those customers successful. We’ll both continue to do that.

Customers who are running CDH, HDP and HDF are getting a new promise. Those product lines will each be supported and maintained for at least three years from the date our merger closes. Any customer who chooses either can be sure of a long-term future for the platform selected.

Guy Shilo isn’t quite as pleased:

On the business side, the new company will be a de facto monopoly, as those two are the largest Hadoop vendors in terms of market share. Less competition often leads to lack of incentive to innovate and rising prices. Let’s hope the joint company will not go this way and leverage its funds and power to improving their products and services.

On the technological side, it will be interesting to see the way CDH and HDP will go. Will they keep both products alive ? will they continue only one ? which of them will it be ? Will they take the HortonWorks approach that embraces the Hadoop open source community and its fast changing versions or the Cloudera more conservative approach ?

I am cautiously pessimistic about this.  Cloudera and Hortonworks combined for a huge amount of the Hadoop market (approximately 80% as of a couple of years ago).  There are several competitors in the broader market, but I thought that Cloudera and Hortonworks gave us two separate visions for different types of companies.

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