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Here’s why HP invested $50M in the Hortonworks approach to Hadoop

It’s not the hundreds of millions Intel invested into Cloudera earlier this year, but the $50 million HP invested in Hortonworks earlier this month is still significant. The investment signifies that HP actually might have a Hadoop strategy and, probably more importantly, that Hortonworks is the partner of choice as some the world’s largest IT vendors (including Microsoft, Red Hat, Teradata, SAP and, now HP) decide to get into the big data business. Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden came on the Structure Show this week to explain the his company’s approach to Hadoop and how it will work with HP.

Here are some of the highlights, but anyone interested in Bearden’s thoughts on handling competing partner interests, the emergence of Spark or the competitive Hadoop landscape will want to hear the whole thing.

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Really, Bearden explained, the deal is a way for HP to continue calling itself a legitimate systems vendor in an age of big data:

“As they have put together their Haven architecture, one of the foundational components of that is Hadoop … as are their other data platform assets that are part of that — Vertica, Autonomy, et cetera. This is an opportunity for us to build reference architectures for the Hortonworks HDP platform to be part of that Haven architecture in general, and then build reference architectures for their other data platforms, like Vertica and Autonomy, so that then HP can be a single point of contact for the vertical and horizontal stacks that their customers are asking for, and provide all the services and support that wrap that entire solution offering.”

But Hortonworks gets something out of the deal, too. It now has some of the largest technology vendors around using their reach to push its Hadoop software into customers’ data centers, which means Hortonworks can offload some of the sales effort in its fight against Cloudera, MapR and anyone else selling Hadoop.

Rob Bearden
Rob Bearden at Structure Data 2014. Photo: Jakub Mosur

However, HP is the only Hortonworks strategic partner that is also an investor, something Bearden says demonstrates the depth of HP’s commitment to making Hadoop work with the rest of its product family.

“Really, they wanted to show the alignment with HDP as part of Haven … and to really reflect to our combined customers that this is much more than just a typical partnership, and that there’s actually a highly aligned financial interest in making this successful and having a solution stack that they’re deeply committed to on a go-forward basis for a very long time,” he said. “I think this demonstrates that very, very clearly.”

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