7 Big Data Startups With An Eye On The Channel

Big Data Takes To The Channel

The big data space has attracted a big number of startups over the past few years. Some of these companies are focused specifically on Hadoop, some are focused on data management, and some are focused on analytics -- but all are vying for the industry's attention.

And, now, some of them are vying for solution providers' attention, too. While not all seven vendors on this list have formal channel programs in place, all are considering them, or at least opening their arms to systems integrators, consultants and other channel players to help fuel their big data play.

Also, check out the rest of our special report on big data and the channel, available exclusively on the CRN Tech News App.


CEO: Max Schireson

10gen is a developer of the increasingly popular MongoDB, a NoSQL database that offers the kind of flexibility and high availability demanded by big data environments.

The New York-based company recently launched a formal channel partner program to help manage the growing number of reseller, OEM and ISV partners in its ecosystem. "We've had significant interest [from solution providers] and we decided to get more structured about it," Ed Albanese, 10gen business development vice president, told CRN. "It's an opportunity to grow the [partner] base."

The program provides 10gen's existing partners with technical and business resources, including MongoDB training and certification, but also is designed to help recruit new partners. The program includes three levels of participation -- Member, Authorized and Strategic -- with benefits based on partner level such as access to product road maps, sales kits and joint press relations services.

Alpine Data Labs

CEO: Tom Ryan

Alpine Data Labs hones in on two of the most buzzworthy trends associated with big data today: predictive analytics and data science.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which was founded in 2010 after being incubated inside EMC/Greenplum, makes a big data analytics platform that works on both Hadoop-based data sources and relational databases. Alpine Data Labs touts the platform as being intuitive and easy to use -- even for those without a background in the burgeoning data science field.

Alpine Data Labs today partners with a handful of systems integrators, including Knowledgent and Foundation's Edge. Founder and Chief Product Officer Steve Hillion said the company plans to add more partners, particularly to help with data science services. "We want to build out a competency around data science ourselves, but we will strongly rely on our partners," Hillion said.


CEO: Mike Olson

As one of the more established players in the Hadoop distribution space, Cloudera offers an enterprise platform that makes the open-source Apache Hadoop framework business-ready. In addition to rounding out Hadoop with must-have enterprise features such as backup and disaster recovery, the company offers a realtime query engine for Hadoop called Impala, which allows its platform to perform both realtime and batch operations on virtually any kind of structured or unstructured data.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cloudera, which has grown to about 320 employees since its inception in 2008, is embracing the channel. Today, the company boasts more than 500 partners -- both on the technology and solution side of the house -- and has a formal channel program called Cloudera Connect Partner Program. The multitrack program is aimed at ISVs, VARs and systems integrators and offers a partner portal where solution providers can tap into technical, sales and marketing resources.


CEO: Roman Stanek

GoodData creates BI applications for big data analysis. Each of its apps -- or "Bashes," as GoodData calls them -- is purpose-built for a specific task, such as its GoodMarketing Bash, which taps into CRM and marketing automation systems to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns or indicate if sales goals are being met. Other Bashes include GoodSuccess and GoodSupport, which provide analytics related to customer satisfaction levels and customer service.

GoodData, San Francisco, has a solution provider program today that plays host to about 20 partners. Mike Smitheman, vice president of marketing, said upping that number is a priority. "Honestly, that's a big part of scaling this business," he told CRN. "We can only be experts in so many things, so a big push for the platform development is how we easily enable those partners to build on the platform, use their own solutions, and take them to market."


CEO: Rob Bearden

Hortonworks is another standout in the Hadoop distribution space, helping businesses embrace the open-source framework for big data management and analysis. Hortonworks aims to make Hadoop ready for the enterprise by wrapping its own data management, data monitoring and data integration solutions around the technology.

Hortonworks has a long list of technology partners ranging from Microsoft to Rackspace. But the Palo Alto, Calif., company also has opened its doors to the channel through its Hortonworks Systems Integrator Partner Program. While the program doesn't employ a traditional reseller model, it offers systems integrators referral bonuses, joint marketing support, technical training on Hadoop and other perks. Benefits vary depending on whether a systems integrator is a global, premier or base-level partner. Hortonworks said it currently partners with more than 50 systems integrators but is focused on expanding that number globally.


CEO: Quentin Gallivan

Founded in 2004, Pentaho has perhaps graduated from big data startup status to one of the market's more recognized data management and business intelligence players. The company offers a data integration and analytics platform that helps companies integrate data with Hadoop, NoSQL or other data sources, and then derive value from that data with visualization tools.

In the U.S., Pentaho sells predominantly direct, but in Europe, the company sells almost entirely through the channel. However, it said it plans to build up its North American channel, particularly to target federal agencies. "The big data market probably needs another year to 18 months to mature to the point where you are going to have your traditional VARs attempt that," said Eddie White, executive vice president of business development at Pentaho, Orlando, Fla. "But you will see us expand our government model, because the government is a very channel-driven model."


CEO: Jim Vogt

Solution providers eyeing a big data play in the government and financial services sectors may want to consider Zettaset, a startup aimed at making Hadoop more secure and suitable for sensitive data.

The company's flagship product is Zettaset Orchestrator, a cluster management system that addresses some of the known security gaps inherent in Hadoop. The latest release of Orchestrator -- version 5 -- creates a security "wrapper" around any Hadoop distribution, giving enterprises confidence that they can deploy the open-source technology, even when compliance is a requirement.

Zettaset, Mountain View, Calif., works with a handful of solution providers and consultant shops, including Third Eye Consulting and Big Data Partnership. But John Armstrong, vice president of marketing, said the company is "committed to developing an ecosystem of market-leading systems integration partners."