Hortonworks Acquires Data Collection Technology Startup, Debuts DataFlow Software

Hadoop technology developer Hortonworks is acquiring Onyara, a developer of Internet-of-Anything data-collection and processing software, and debuted a new product called Hortonworks DataFlow based on the technology.

Hortonworks also announced a strategic partnership with Ernst & Young LLP through which the two will jointly provide data-management offerings combining the Hadoop-based Hortonworks Data Platform and EY's data and information management services.

Onyara's technology stems from an eight-year National Security Agency development project that was turned over to the Apache Software Foundation last year as part of the NSA Technology Transfer Program. There the work is known as the Apache NiFi project.

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Onyara was launched earlier this year by NiFi's original developers with an eye to commercializing the technology. Hortonworks Tuesday revealed the deal to buy Onyara for an undisclosed sum with the transaction expected to close by the end of September.

Hadoop is also an Apache open-source project that was created by Yahoo developers -- some of whom went on to start Hortonworks to commercialize that technology. So the company's executives saw a similarity in Onyara's roots, said Shawn Connolly, Hortonworks corporate strategy vice president, in an interview.

"It's an emerging area that we're pretty excited about," Connolly said. "We moved fairly quickly on this acquisition."

Onyara's software provides a way to collect and curate "data in motion," information streams from sensors, geo-location devices, machines and even social networks, and load it into Hadoop or other data-storage systems where it can be analyzed in real time. The need for such technology is expected to rapidly grow as part of the nascent Internet-of-Things arena.

The new Hortonworks DataFlow software incorporates the Onyara technology and works with the Hortonworks Data Platform. "This really expands our focus as a business to a multiproduct company," Connolly said.

Unlike other data-integration technologies that generally handle data in just one direction, DataFlow is bi-directional, providing a way for IT to communicate with IoT devices. The technology also provides a means of securing procured data -- an important consideration as many IoT systems will be collecting data from outside the corporate firewall. And DataFlow will document the original source of collected data -- a key element of good data governance practices.

"The Internet-of-Everything is changing the pattern of how data flows," Connolly said. "It's very much aimed at data in motion."

In addition to working with Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution, DataFlow will collaborate with other systems, such as SAP's HANA in-memory database and other Apache systems, such as Spark, Kafka and Storm.

The acquisition was pulled together so quickly that Hortonworks really hasn't had time to confer with its channel and technology partners about DataFlow, Connolly said. "We expect to work with a lot of our partners so they can plug their technology into it and provide, ship, collect or receive data," he said.

Hortonworks' ISV partners can benefit from the DataFlow product by integrating it with their applications, allowing them to work with IoT data. Systems integration partners can use DataFlow as they assemble IoT networks.

Hortonworks will continue to contribute to the Apache NiFi project, Connolly added.

Onyara marks Hortonworks' third acquisition. Last year it bought data security developer XA Secure, and in April of this year it bought SequenceIQ, a provider of automated deployment tools for Hadoop.

The partnership with Ernst & Young comes as businesses are attempting to leverage new streams of structured and unstructured data to realize efficiencies and gain competitive advantages.

"Many leading organizations are drowning in data, yet they lack the ability to analyze and drive value from the vast amount of information at their disposal," said Scott Schlesinger, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP and EY Americas IT Advisory, in a statement. "The alliance will enable EY and Hortonworks to assist organizations in driving value from their existing technology."

Through the alliance, the two companies will specifically leverage Hortonworks' technology to help organizations store large volumes of unstructured data, and mine that data to improve competitiveness, reduce costs and gain 360-degree views of their customers.

Ernst & Young also will use the Hortonworks technology to build real-time collaboration and information-monitoring systems for their customers.