Summary:

Hadoop pioneer Cloudera is reportedly raising “at least $200 million” from a group of investors that includes Hadoop competitor Intel. If true, it raises some interesting questions about how the two companies might decide to co-exist.

Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Hadoop vendor Cloudera might be raising “at least $200 million” in financing from a group of investors that includes Intel. Representatives from both Cloudera and Intel declined to comment for the Bloomberg story, which cites “people with knowledge of the situation.” (Cloudera actually did announce a large funding round on Tuesday, although it was $160 million and T. Rowe Price led the round. Intel was not named as an investor.)

That Cloudera would raise such a big round isn’t too big a surprise given the company’s current status. It has already raised close to $150 million since launching in 2009, appears to be inching toward an initial public offering, and very possibly needs a big infusion of cash to help it scale.

Hadoop is an increasingly popular technology for storing and processing “big data,” but selling Hadoop software and services to large companies can be a laborious and resource-intensive process. Cloudera’s job isn’t made any easier with competition from fellow startups Hortonworks and MapR, as well as larger vendors such as IBM and EMC-VMware spinoff Pivotal.

The Intel angle is interesting, however, because Intel is also in the business of selling Hadoop software and services. In fact, it was recently sued by Hadoop startup Zettaset for violating that company’s trade secrets after an alleged business partnership gone sour. A stake in Cloudera at this point might not do much other than help Intel cash in should Cloudera have a big exit, but a technology partnership with or even an acquisition of Cloudera would be hugely important.

Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly.

Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly.

Cloudera arguably needs some big-time sales teams to help it move product (competitor Hortonworks has deals in place with Microsoft, Red Hat and Teradata, among others), while Intel could certainly use Cloudera’s Hadoop-engineering chops, its product lineup and its mindshare.

We’ll hear a lot more about Cloudera’s plans at Gigaom’s Structure Data conference this week in New York, where Cloudera CEO will be on stage to discuss his company’s future and the future of the big data market. The CEOs of Hortonworks (Rob Bearden) and Pivotal (Paul Maritz) will also be speaking at the show about where they see the market heading and what roles their companies will play.

For more about how Hadoop came to be such a big, important IT market, check out this feature from 2013 on why and how it was created, and the emergence of Cloudera and Hortonworks. To get a sense of how Cloudera sees its business evolving, listen to this recent Structure Show podcast interview with Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Mike Olson.

Update: This post was updated at 12:55 p.m. with the actual amount of Cloudera’s investment and the fact that T. Rowe Price, not Intel, led the round.

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