Hadoop gets real

Robust data processing and storage capabilities make Hadoop both wildly popular and wildly complex. Here's how four IT leaders managed to bring Hadoop systems from the sandbox into production.

Technology professionals with strong skills in Apache Hadoop are among the hardest to find. In fact, demand for people with Hadoop expertise has skyrocketed 34% since last year, according to Wanted Analytics, a research firm specializing in the labor market.

But while competition for talent is fierce, the days of highly paid data science rock stars might be coming to an end. Hadoop is known for its robust data processing and storage power -- as well as its complexity. But businesses that need such functionality may no longer have to hunt far and wide for IT pros with Hadoop skills, because vendors are building Hadoop systems that are easier to use.

Pivotal Software, Syncsort, MapR Technologies and Zettaset are just a few of the vendors creating business-friendly applications for crunching large data sets on Hadoop. The result is a burgeoning ecosystem of products that promise to help IT departments reduce their dependence on high-priced talent, increase security, cut costs and better align big data activities with business goals.

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