It's a common question: is Hadoop enterprise ready? Viewed from one angle, this is a moot question. Hadoop, v1.0 and v2.0, are already in wide-spread use. But according to data archive vendor RainStor, which is trying very hard to turn Hadoop into a production database, only a small percentage of big businesses are relying on Hadoop for this purpose. Most are using it as a development platform or just trying to figure out what to do with it in general.
"Whether a technology is enterprise ready or not is something of a subjective proposition," writes Wikibon analyst Jeff Kelley. "What is enterprise ready for one organization may not be for another. While Hadoop has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time from an enterprise readiness perspective, clearly it is still an emerging technology."
As the platform matures and the big database players start to take an interest — Teradata just partnered with Hortonworks; HP has bought a stake in the company as well — Hadoop is expected to grow into a major platform for storing, archiving and making lots and lots of data available for production systems to draw from.
"The adoption rate is very fast and the majority of our new business opportunities are on Hadoop," says Deirdre Mahon, VP, marketing, RainStor, which produces platform agnostic archiving solutions and is now certified to run on Cloudera Enterprise 5 and Hortonworks 2.1, arguably the two largest solutions in the enterprise Hadoop marketplace.
To take advantage of these new opportunities, RainStor just released RainStor 6.0 for Hadoop 2.0 which will give clients, for example, the ability to write one SQL query and use this across the data landscape — from the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) over to a Hadoop storage archive and back again. Because Hadoop 2.0 is a much more robust platform, it allows for third-party players like RainStor to develop and run features and functionality that were not possible on Hadoop 1.0, Mark Cusack, RainStor's chief architect explained.
"We ran on Hadoop 1.0 but we weren't a first-class citizen in that kind of environment," he said. "Hadoop 2.0 allows up to open up our archived data to the rest of the [application and database] community."
Beyond developing Hadoop as a low-cost archive that can hold massive amounts of data for quick search, RainStor has also added governance and authorization layers to its offering so that these data stores can be used to store sensitive personal information like credit card numbers and healthcare data.
Dell, for example, is using RainStor and Hadoop to move about 60 terabytes (TBs) off its Teradata EDW onto a Cloudera Hadoop cluster, wrapping this in a lifecycle management schema, in order to free up expensive EDW space for other, more profitable uses.
For its part, RainStor customer T-Mobile is using Hortonworks' Hadoop offering to store trillions of log files from their network so they can analyze them for performance issues.
"This is an area that is going to explode on Hadoop over the next 12 to 24 months and we've got a lead on it because we've been doing data governance and data compliance on non-Hadoop platforms for about six years now," says Cusack.
He may well be right. According to many analysts, Hadoop is poised for takeoff: the value proposition of no- or low-cost software, commodity hardware, and a very active, engaged development community that is moving state-art-forward at a fast clip is just too appealing an alternative to higher priced, proprietary data stores that lack flexibility and the ability to cheaply scale.
"The good news," concluded Kelley, "is that some of the brightest minds in IT are contributing to the Apache Hadoop project, and a new generation of Hadoop developers and data scientists are coming of age. As a result, the technology is advancing rapidly, becoming both more powerful and easier to implement and manage."
Now a freelance writer, in a former, not-too-distant life, Allen Bernard was the managing editor of CIOUpdate.com and numerous other technology websites. Since 2000, Allen has written, assigned and edited thousands of articles that focus on intersection of technology and business. As well as content marketing and PR, he now writes for Data Informed.com, Ziff Davis B2B, CIO.com, the Economist Intelligence Unit and other high-quality publications. Originally from the Boston area Allen now calls Columbus, Ohio home.