Reality check for Hadoop

Gartner analyst shows the elephant’s got some growing up to do

Hadoop Hortonworks Cloudera MapR big data

There’s been a lot of buzz about Hadoop for a long time. But it’s important to keep the technology in perspective as the big data industry gathers for Hadoop Summit in San Jose this week.

Hadoop is an important and growing technology, but it’s still very early days, says Gartner Research Vice President Merv Adrian in a blog post. Market adoption of Hadoop tools are graduating from early adopter status to “early majority” in the marketplace. That’s a good thing. But, Hadoop’s still got a long way to go.

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Last month Gartner surveyed almost 300 enterprise IT decision makers and 54% said they had no plans to invest in Hadoop technologies in the coming year. If you’re a big data vendor, the glass-half-full perspective is that 46% are investing in big data tools. But still, many organizations haven’t jumped on the Hadoop bandwagon yet.

Hadoop door label flickr/Robert Scoble

The revenues for Hadoop are tiny compared to the broader database market. Gartner estimates database management systems (DBSM) are a $32 billion market. The leading vendor, Oracle earns about $13 billion in revenues for DBSM, while Microsoft, IBM and SAP each report more than $2 billion annually from managing databases.

Hadoop vendors get a fraction of that. Adrian estimates that the three leading Hadoop distributors – Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR – are on track for less than $200 million in annual revenue, combined between the three of them. At their current growth rates, these firms are still years away from breaking into the top 10 database management vendors.

Hadoop vendors have far fewer customers too: Megavendors in the database market report hundreds of thousands of customers; Hadoop companies report hundreds of customers.

You’ve got to start somewhere though. And Adrian is still bullish on the market. “It’s healthy, and growing, and has a enormous amount of upside adoption potential,” he says. It’s just not yet a huge, multi-billion industry.

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