Hortonworks did a business-oriented round of outreach, talking with at least Derrick Harris and me. Notes from my call — for which Rob Bearden didn’t bother showing up — include, in no particular order:
- Hortonworks denies advanced acquisition discussions with either Microsoft and Intel. Of course, that doesn’t exactly contradict the widespread story of Intel having made an acquisition offer. Edit: I have subsequently heard, very credibly, that the denial was untrue.
- As vendors usually do, Hortonworks denies the extreme forms of Cloudera’s suggestion that Hortonworks competitive wins relate to price slashing. But Hortonworks does believe that its license fees often wind up being lower than Cloudera’s, due especially to Hortonworks offering few extra-charge items than Cloudera.
- Hortonworks used a figure of ~75 subscription customers. Edit: That figure turns out in retrospect to have been inflated. This does not include OEM sales through, for example, Teradata, Microsoft Azure, or Rackspace. However, that does include …
- … a small number of installations hosted in the cloud — e.g. ~2 on Amazon Web Services — or otherwise remotely. Also, testing in the cloud seems to be fairly frequent, and the cloud can also be a source of data ingested into Hadoop.
- Since Hortonworks a couple of times made it seem that Rackspace was an important partner, behind only Teradata and Microsoft, I finally asked why. Answers boiled down to a Rackspace Hadoop-as-a-service offering, plus joint work to improve Hadoop-on-OpenStack.
- Other Hortonworks reseller partners seem more important in terms of helping customers consume HDP (Hortonworks Data Platform), rather than for actually doing Hortonworks’ selling for it. (This is unsurprising — channel sales rarely are a path to success for a product that is also appropriately sold by a direct force.)
- Hortonworks listed its major industry sectors as:
- Web and retailing, which it identifies as one thing.
- Health care (various subsectors).
- Financial services, which it called “competitive” in the kind of tone that usually signifies “we lose a lot more than we win, and would love to change that”.
In Hortonworks’ view, Hadoop adopters typically start with a specific use case around a new type of data, such as clickstream, sensor, server log, geolocation, or social.
- These use cases can be any of a true new application, an enhancement to an existing application, or a general investigative analytics environment.
- This adoption is typically driven by a line-of-business group, but IT is a key influencer, and IT usually winds up running the project.
- Overall, this accounts for 70% of Hortonworks’ business by some metric.
The other 30% Hortonworks sees is efficiency-oriented — i.e., a cheaper way to store and/or process data.
- Hortonworks assigns ELT (Extract/Load/Transform) to this group. Based in part on a subsequent conversation with Cloudera, I gather that batch ELT offload — especially but not only from large Teradata installations — is a significant fraction of the total.
- “Data lake” and similar buzzwords fall into this group, as does “re-architecting”.
- Hortonworks asserts that adopters from the 70% rapidly move to this kind of use as well, while Teradata customers typically start out in this part.
- Unsurprisingly, this part is IT all the way.
One customer apparently estimates its fully burdened Hadoop costs at $900/terabyte/year.
Edit: I followed up on these efficiency-oriented use cases in a conversation with Cloudera.
And finally: One of my favorite things to ask is “When you win, why do win?” — at least when I think the vendor won’t just reiterate their core marketing messages. Hortonworks gave a great, threefold answer:
- Its relationships with Teradata, Microsoft, et al.
- Its promise that it can get specific customer-requested features into Apache Hadoop on a specific timeframe. (Yes, the Contribution Olympics are still with us.)
- Its claim of greater experience with truly huge clusters — not just Yahoo, but I don’t know who its other examples are.
- A few weeks ago, I talked with Hortonworks at length about technology and other subjects.