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Cloudera and Hortonworks Merge with Goal to Increase Competition with Cloud Offerings

| by Alex Giamas Follow 10 Followers on Oct 31, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Earlier this month, Cloudera and Hortonworks announced an all-stock merger at a combined value of around $5.2 billion. Analysts have argued that this merger is aimed at the increased competition that both companies are facing from cloud vendors like Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

IBM is supporting both Hadoop MapReduce and Spark in their platform, BigInsights. Some analysts have pointed out that this convergence of Hadoop with Spark/Flink and other streaming technologies is already happening in the cloud platforms, leaving Cloudera and Hortonworks base offerings behind. Both companies, and especially Hortonworks, have placed their bets on partnerships with cloud vendors to provide turnkey solutions in the cloud. Microsoft’s HDInsight is based on Hortonworks Hadoop platform and Hortonworks is also partnering with Red Hat and IBM on the Open Hybrid Architecture initiative.

On the merger, Hortonworks CTO reassured existing customers of both companies that the new entity will "continue supporting the technology for a period of time"; part of the reasoning behind the merger is developing a unified, containerised architecture with a "frictionless hybrid" approach to big data management, allowing them to be seamlessly stored on-premises and in cloud providers. Startups like Qubole are offering cross-cloud platform self service big data management solutions. Cloudera, Hortonworks merger could also enable them to offer services in this space.

The CTO of Syncsort pointed out that while Hortonworks offerings are focusing on Internet of Things (IoT) and streaming data use cases, Cloudera focuses on Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. In her opinion, this can make the merger a success as it could result in advancing the combined company far further and faster than either of them would do on its own. CEO and chairman of MapR Technologies, a direct competitor of both Hortonworks and Cloudera on the other side couldn’t find any innovation benefits to the merger and said that the merger is all about rationalization and cost cutting.

Aside from the main product offerings, there are questions about the future of related products in the Hadoop ecosystem. Cloudera has been backing Sentry, Impala and its own Cloudera Manager product. Correspondingly, the Hortonworks offering were based on another set of open source products like Hive, Ambari, Atlas, NiFi and Ranger. As there is an overlap between competing products, it still remains to be seen which product lines will fall from favour in the new combined company. Both companies CEO’s stated that the merger should be viewed as a combination of equals and the combined company will be 60% owned by Cloudera and 40% owned by Hortonworks.

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