A would-be data management juggernaut got its first public airing as Cloudera -- a combination of formerly separate Hadoop pioneers Cloudera and Hortonworks -- as the newly stand-alone vendor's leaders publicly mapped the road it intends to take forward. "The combination has made sense for many years," said Tom Reilly, CEO of the combined companies, who held a similar role at the former Cloudera. Others agreed these leaders in open-source-oriented big data tooling -- built along lines drawn by big web companies, such as Google and Yahoo -- are better together than apart and can offer users a unified big data platform. Reilly spoke as part of a prerecorded webcast heralding the new company, which came after confirmation that shareholders of Cloudera and Hortonworks had approved a merger of the firms -- a deal first disclosed last October. Cloudera faces distinct challenges, as it moves data applications to the cloud and tries to convey users to the fast-growing new world of machine learning and AI.
Cloudera continued its evolution away from Hadoop today by announcing a technical preview for Cloudera Machine Learning, its new data science and data engineering platform that's based on Kubernetes, which enables it to run in the cloud and on premise. Hadoop's influence has waned, in many respects, in direct proportion to the rise of public cloud platforms. Instead of taking the time to build and manage Hadoop clusters to store big data and run analytics on them, companies are turning to cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, who can offer cheap object storage and scalable compute resources. This changing market dynamic has helped to drive 46% year-over-year revenue growth for AWS, and Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Platform are growing even faster. In many ways, the October merger of Cloudera and Hortonworks was a response to this dynamic.
With the advantage of two sets of eyes and ears, one of us got the news live while the other just saw it in a series of cryptic text messages upon landing at Newark Airport a couple hours later: Cloudera and Hortonworks are entering a merger of equals that sees Cloudera stockholders owning roughly 60% of the combined company. Larry Dignan delivered the news flash yesterday: It puts together a company with roughly a $5 billion valuation and $750 million in revenues, with players that have been slowly advancing toward cash flow positive balance sheets. Until now, we thought that IBM would have been the more likely suitor for Hortonworks, given an OEM relationship that was finding increasing commercial traction. But as IBM of late has been busily pivoting the future of its business from Watson cognitive computing toward a boarder implementation of AI, not to mention the urgency of building the IBM Cloud business, there's been bigger fish to fry. The deal brings together two formerly fierce rivals.
The term "big data" reached its peak on Google Trends back in 2015. Organizations were harvesting more data than ever before and needed to store it in a cost-effective way, which may be why searches for "Hadoop" also reached a peak on Google Trends that same year. But by 2018, things have shifted. The three big Hadoop vendors -- Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR, no longer promote themselves as Hadoop providers. At the Gartner Data Analytics Summit this spring, Research VP Merv Adrian pointed out that none of those vendors even had the word Hadoop in their booth displays at the event.