Summary:

Competition is feisty in the land of commercial Hadoop distributions, and a $50 million in venture capital re-up looks like it could come in handy for Hortonworks.

Hortonworks logo

Hortonworks, one of a handful of companies pushing its own distributions of Hadoop, has received $50 million in new funding, according to a company blog post from CEO Rob Bearden. Tenaya Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group led the round, and previous investors Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Yahoo also contributed.

The company has a close connection to Yahoo. It spun out of the webscale company a couple of years ago to further develop Hadoop, a de-facto standard-issue holding pen and nerve center for large volumes of unstructured data. Since Hortonworks’ spin-off, it has racked up more than 100 paying customers, according to Bearden’s post, and the idea is to get many more than that, as well as add capabilities on top of what’s now available:

With this funding we will focus on both scaling global field operations as well as further investing in our engineering organization. It will enable us to increase the rate of innovation across all of the Hadoop projects. This starts with the YARN based initiatives but also extends to Security, Data Lifecycle Management, Streaming and beyond. Those investments will continue to fulfill enterprise requirements and fuel greater enterprise adoption in the coming months.

The company continues to build a considerably faster version of Hive than what’s currently available with its Stinger project. Meanwhile Cloudera has been up to similar business with Impala, and even Facebook wants to do the same kind of things, as evidenced by recent advances on querying analytics data at lightning speed.

It’s unclear exactly how much money Hortonworks has raised to date. A spokeswoman declined to give the figure. My colleague Derrick Harris noted in February 2012 that he’d heard the company had taken on more than $50 million in less than a year.

Cloudera and MapR have been making noise with their executive shake-ups and funding announcements. While the company has been considered an acquisition candidate, in the meantime it will have to keep signing up more customers and trying to become the biggest elephant in the room. The new funding certainly helps toward that end.

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