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Big Data Turning Point? Yes, Hortonworks’ IPO Filing Signals the Mainstream Momentum of Hadoop

I have always been fascinated by the intersection of technology and Wall Street.  Having worked as Chief Administrative Officer for equities at Lehman Brothers and recently as the CFO/CAO for global technology at NYSE Euronext, I got a bird’s eye view of how technology is driving a fundamental shift in the global economy.

On Wall Street, we had being hearing for the past couple of years how Hadoop is going to fundamentally help solve one of the biggest challenges that companies face: the challenge of getting value from “big data.” Venture capital investors had seen the vision and had invested significantly to build this ecosystem, but Wall Street was still trying to understand its potential.

Until very recently, companies were largely just testing Hadoop. We at Syncsort, with our advanced Big Data offerings, have first hand knowledge of how our clients are deploying their new Hadoop environments. Clients are now moving quickly to put Hadoop into production given the maturity of the product and the significant cost and process improvement it provides. This tipping point is critical in the evolution of the product.

Hortonworks’ S-1 filing in advance of an IPO illustrates that the broader financial community is starting to understand the power of Hadoop and the importance of the Big Data revolution. Still more importantly it will give investors access to the first pure-play Hadoop vendor in the market. Many large public companies have Hadoop-based products but they represent a tiny fraction of their business. The only real options in the public markets were companies like Splunk, Tableau, etc., which don’t really provide Hadoop exposure. With the Horton IPO, investors now have their chance to be part of a market-leading Hadoop distribution pure play.

Hortonworks and the other distribution companies like Cloudera and MapR are competing in a huge potential market – over $50 billion by 2018 as forecast by Wikibon.  And Gartner predicts that Hadoop will be in two-thirds of advanced analytics products by 2015. Investors are starting to recognize the importance of this secular opportunity.

This data evolution is that it is not vendor driven – it’s customer driven.  From the conversations we had at the recent Strata conference to various studies by IDC, Wikibon and our own survey data, enterprises are looking to move data to Hadoop production environments and are earmarking budget to grow those initiatives through 2015 and beyond.

What will 2015/2016 hold for Hadoop and other innovative Big Data technologies?  I predict more IPO filings, live customer stories hitting the business and trade press, and Big Data becoming mainstream for every IT department, as customers look to derive strategic value from all of their data.

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