Demand for Hadoop -- the big data software platform -- continues to accelerate more rapidly than some pundits expected, according to a range of anecdotal evidence.

A prime example: Revenue at Hortonworks, a leading Hadoop distribution provider, jumped 167 percent to $22.8 million in Q1 2015 vs. Q1 2014. The figure, released yesterday, easily beat Wall Street's expectations of about $18 million. The company added 105 new customer support subscription contracts, Hortonworks said.

In recent months, some skeptics have wondered if Hadoop's open source model -- which includes plenty of freeware options -- would limit true business revenue opportunities. But proponents insist that's not the case.

Forget Free; Think Community

Speaking broadly about the open source model during EMC World last week, Pivotol CEO Paul Maritz said "free" is not the important piece of the conversation. "The important thing about open source is not about free," said Maritz. "It's about building ecosystems."

No doubt, plenty of Hadoop companies -- Cloudera, MapR and Hortonworks, among them -- are striving to build their own customer and partner ecosystems. Similarly, analytics-centric companies like Actian are building and riding the Hadoop community wave.

"While Hadoop is still in its infancy, there is a building boom underway and we’re beginning to see the kinds of analytic infrastructures necessary for high productivity," said Actian CTO Mike Hoskins in an open email to multiple media members this week. "We are experiencing heightened demand for our Hadoop-based products, and a quickened pace of adoption as the ecosystem matures and additional applications are built on top of HDFS. Industrialized Hadoop is not far off, and it will be the driving factor in a fully-realized data-driven world."

Bigger Numbers, But What About Profits?

The global Hadoop market is expected to reach $50.2 billion by 2020, up from $2.0 billion in 2013, according to Allied Market Research. That's a compound annual growth rate -- including hardware, software and services sales -- of 58.2%. More than an on-premises technology, Hadoop has also emerged as an on-demand big data service from multiple companies.

Despite that anticipated market growth, some companies are still waiting on real profits. Hortonworks, for one, lost $40.1 million in Q1 2015 as the company focused on growing its customer base rather than near-term profits.

The next Hadoop milestones will likely emerge at Hadoop Summit (June 9-11, San Jose) and Strata+Hadoop World (Sept. 29-Oct. 1, New York).

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access