Summary:

Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden laid out some ambitious goals for the company at the Gigaom Structure Data conference Wednesday.

Rob Bearden at Structure Data 2014.

Talk about optimism. Hortonworks, the company backing open-source Hadoop for enterprise use, will be a $1 billion company by 2017 or 2018, according to CEO Rob Bearden. That’s a mighty ambitious goal, given that it took Red Hat the better part of two decades to hit the same milestone with its enterprise Linux distribution.

But Bearden, speaking at Structure Data on Wednesday, stuck to his guns, allowing for a little “wiggle room” with his board and investors.

The Enterprise Hadoop opportunity, in his view, is bigger than the opportunity in the client-server transformation.

“Our first goal is to be able to manage half of the world’s Hadoop by 2017 and in parallel we can clearly be a billion dollar company by 2017 to 2018,” he said.

The sheer size of the job feeds opportunity. “The volume of data, the growth of data across the enterprise, the thesis is this explosion of data will be managed in Hadoop, then there’s the battleground of who in Hadoop will do it.”

And there Hortonworks faces prodigious competition from Cloudera,  which just closed a massive funding round, MapR, Pivotal and other new-look companies as well as IT giants jumping into the market — EMC, IBM, and others.

Bearden is banking that Hortonworks’ focus on iterating and improving core Hadoop, and baking in enterprise check-list features — monitoring, provisioning, high-availability and data governance — will bring home the bacon.

The headline was updated to reflect that Bearden said Hortonworks can be a $1 billion entity in the 2017-2018 timeframe, which, is 4, not 2 years from now.

Check out a video of the session below:

Photo courtesy of Jakub Mosur

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