Hortonworks dismisses reports of Hadoop droop

Customer base growing, but staff still outnumber punters

Hadoop-pusher Hortonworks has dismissed reports by analyst house Gartner that the big data market is "yet to take off".

Earlier this year Gartner reported that the market will remain sluggish for the next few years, with fewer businesses planning to begin Hadoop deployments in the next two years than the entire number of those that already have them.

Just 26 per cent are deploying, piloting or experimenting with Hadoop, with 11 per cent planning to invest in the next year and seven per cent within 24 months, found the research.

However, Hortonworks president Herb Cunitz told The Register: "We are not seeing much of what Gartner says."

The number of Hortonworks customers has reached 560 "and growing," he said. "Our customer base is growing 20 per cent a quarter. That's a 144 per cent net expansion rate."

At the moment Hortonworks' 800 employees outnumber its direct customers, although the company does have 1,350 partners – including some big vendors such as SAP.

Cunitz did not give a date as to when he expects that ratio to improve, but said he expected it would be soon.

In its last quarter's results, Hortonworks almost doubled its net loss to $42.3m (£27.5m) on a triple revenue increase of $22.8m (£14.3m), compared with the same period last year.

The company has said it expects to be profitable by 2017.

"We are very comfortable not being profitable, as firstly we are growing fast and second is we are acquiring companies," said Cunitz.

At the end of August Hortonworks acquired technology startup Onyara, whose secure connection software was originally created by the NSA before the outfit was spun out.

Along with the technology, Hortonworks has also acquired a number of ex-NSA staff from the 10-man outfit. Cunitz said more acquisitions are on the cards.

However, it appears that the widespread uptake of Hadoop is not on the cards for a while.

Solix Technologies, which archives unused business applications and has also started deploying Hadoop's technology, has echoed the findings from Gartner.

Vikram Gaitonde, product veep at Solix, said the vast majority of the company's customers are still using its archive services to ensure its stays on the right side of data compliance laws, rather than for more whizzy big data analytics purposes.

"By 2017 we expect more businesses to start using their archived information for analytics," he said. ®

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