Cloudera, Hortonworks Move To Expand Their Partner Ecosystems

Cloudera and Hortonworks, rivals in the fast-growing market for Hadoop-related software and services, are stepping up their channel games by expanding their channel ecosystems and enlisting a growing number of solution provider, ISV and OEM partners.

Hortonworks this week struck an alliance with data application platform developer Concurrent in a move the two companies said would simplify the process of developing big data-centric applications. The partnership is the latest of a number of such strategic alliances Hortonworks has established in recent months, including relationships with Red Hat and LucidWorks.

Hortonworks and its chief competitor in the Hadoop space, Cloudera, have been stepping up their efforts in the channel. Last week Cloudera added resources, including new training and certification for solution providers, to its Cloudera Connect Partner Program. Hortonworks recently said its partner ecosystem grew more than 240 percent in 2013, including a reseller deal with Computer Sciences Corp.

Hortonworks and Cloudera, along with several other vendors including MapR Technologies and Pivotal, offer their own distributions of Apache Hadoop, the open-source platform for managing big data. They enhance Hadoop with add-on software, management tools, services and other offerings that make it easier for partners and customers to work with the platform.

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The Hadoop ecosystem market is currently worth about $77 million, according to market researcher Gartner, and is expected to explode to $813 million by 2016.

"I believe we've just scratched the surface in terms of the opportunities," said Mark Fraser, sales executive vice president at T4G, a Toronto-based project services company that works with Hortonworks.

Cloudera's Connect Partner Program is now approaching 950 partners, said Tim Stevens, business and corporate development vice president, in a recent interview. That includes resellers, systems integrators, OEMs, ISVs, hardware partners and cloud service providers. "We have the largest partner ecosystem in the Hadoop marketplace," he said.

Last week Cloudera announced a number of enhancements to its channel program, expanding the sales resources available through the partner portal, including marketing content, customer case studies and product roadmap updates. The company also expanded partner training and certification opportunities through online access to the vendor's Cloudera University.

Hortonworks has reseller deals with a number of major vendors including Microsoft, SAP, Teradata and Hewlett-Packard who sell HDP as a complement to their own products. The vendor also works with ISVs and solution providers, the latter ranging from major systems integrators such as Computer Sciences Corp. to smaller solution providers such as T4G and Think Big Analytics.

Last month Hortonworks raised $100 in venture financing and the company said it planned to use some of the money to further expand its partner ecosystem.

Hortonworks and Cloudera are both "rocket ships" whose Hadoop-based platforms are on a fast-growth trajectory, said Rick Farnell, president of Think Big Analytics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based solution provider that develops predictive analysis systems based on each vendor's platform. "The amount of data – and the differences in data – that needs to be blended together to gain insights is exploding," Farnell said in an interview.

T4G has been working with Hortonworks for about one-and-a-half years, providing a range of consulting, implementation, configuration and data integration services around its Hadoop distribution. T4G's customers are IT departments that are wrestling with managing rapidly growing volumes of data and business-side managers seeking ways to analyze that data to make better decisions.

"Virtually everything we do is centered around the better use of data," T4G's Fraser said. Hortonworks is very responsive when the solution provider has a customer opportunity that calls for assistance from the vendor, he said, and Hortonworks provides T4G with sales opportunities that can benefit from the solution provider's expertise. "They're highly accessible," he said of Hortonworks' management.

Fraser also praised the openness of Hortonworks' platform, pointing to its integration with widely deployed systems such as Microsoft's business intelligence software and SAP's HANA in-memory database.

Earlier this month Hortonworks launched Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) 2.1, a new release of its Hadoop distribution with Apache Hive 0.13 for improved interactive SQL query, Apache Falcon for improved data governance, Apache Knox for perimeter security, the Apache Storm engine for real-time event processing, and Apache Solr for extended search.

Last month Cloudera got a boost when Intel, which dropped its own distribution of Hadoop, spent $740 million to buy an 18-percent stake in Cloudera and designated the company to be its preferred distributor of Hadoop software.