How Hadoop startup Cloudera is evolving

Aims to make Hadoop as easy for corporate workers as SQL-based BI tools

Cloudera Inc. is tweaking its business model.

The company started life as the Red Hat for Hadoop -- a provider of paid support for the open-source data management platform.

Last fall, the Burlingame, Calif. startup released its first product -- Cloudera Desktop, a management console.

Since then, it has also quietly released a proprietary data integration app. It "doesn't replace an Informatica or Ab Initio," says Cloudera CEO Mike Olson, but it does provide extract and transform features.

The data integration app will be formally released this quarter as part of the overarching Cloudera Dta Platform. No price has been determined yet, said Olson.

It's only one of the capabilities that Cloudera is feverishly working on -- analytics and BI dashboards are another -- to make its version of Hadoop as easy to use for mainstream corporate workers as SQL-based Business Intelligence tools.

"MicroStrategy, Business Objects, Oracle, IBM DB2 Parallel Edition -- these products are all powerful and wonderfully easy to use for the business analyst," Olson said. By contrast, Hadoop remains something that tends to intimidate all but "hardcore Java hackers."

"Hadoop needs to be made easier. It's powerful, but requires a fair bit of programming," he said.

Cloudera counts 30 customers today, most of them in government, financial services and retail, said Olson. They include LinkedIn, eHarmony, JP Morgan Chase, and many of the other companies that presented at the inaugural HadoopWorld conference last fall.

Cloudera, which has raised $11 million via two rounds of venture funding, plans to double its 27-employee headcount this year to help turn on mainstream enterprises to NoSQL alternatives such as Hadoop and its progenitor, MapReduce.

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