Rackspace Teams With Hortonworks On Public Cloud Hadoop Service

Rackspace on Monday became the latest vendor to offer Hadoop-as-a-service through Hortonworks, positioning it as a way for customers to take advantage of the big data technology on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The Hortonworks Data Platform powered by Apache Hadoop is now available in Rackspace's managed hosting environment and the Rackspace public cloud, Sean Anderson, Rackspace's product marketing manager for cloud and big data solutions, said in an interview.

Hadoop requires a significant up-front investment and isn't easy to deploy for organizations that are just getting their feet wet with the technology. The idea behind the new Rackspace services, as with pretty much every cloud service, is to remove the cost and complexity barriers.

In so doing, Rackspace wants to make Hadoop more accessible to nontechnical folks.

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"Now customers can write Hadoop queries and not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure. Instead of spinning up Hadoop on servers, they can write their queries on a system connected to the public cloud," Anderson told CRN.

Rackspace currently has approximately 40 customers testing the Hadoop services, and some are using them for workloads "up to hundreds of terabytes," Anderson said. Hadoop is designed to ingest massive amounts of data and analyze them to identify useful trends and insights.

Rackspace's cloud customers can now provision Hadoop clusters through their Rackspace control panels. For the dedicated service, customers can manage Hadoop as if it were on-premise, gaining access to the server infrastructure, Anderson said.

Other cloud vendors also are delivering Hadoop with Hortonworks, including Microsoft with its new Windows Azure HDInsight service, as well as SAP, Teradata and Joyent.

Meanwhile, Rackspace is also releasing a managed support offering for Hadoop as part of its partnership with Hortonworks.

Anderson said this will let customers design architecture that meets their specific needs -- some might need lots of storage, while others might need intrusion detection and a web application firewall for compliance and data integrity purposes, he said.

With the managed support, customers can have a single contract with support for Hadoop as well as Rackspace infrastructure support, Anderson said.

Rackspace first partnered with Hortonworks last November when Rackspace chose it to be the focal distribution for its internal Hadoop clusters, Anderson said.

The Hadoop managed and public cloud services are the first two offerings in Rackspace's Data Services portfolio. The San Antonio-based vendor is planning to add more NoSQL services based on its acquisitions of Object Rocket and Excellent Cloud Services.