With a New $160 Million, Cloudera Targets Hadoop Community Contributions

Cloudera this week raised $160 million in funding from major investors as it considers an initial public offering, planning to invest much of the money in engineering resources to extend its contributions to the Apache Hadoop community.

Cloudera is a leading provider of the open source Apache Hadoop framework used for storing and real-time processing Big Data with commodity hardware and cloud infrastructure. Contributing to the financing were T. Rowe Price, Google Ventures and an affiliate of MSD Capital, the private investment firm formed to leverage the capital of Michael Dell and his family.

With this week's investment, Cloudera now has $300 million in venture funding. Speaking this morning on a panel at the GigaOM Structure Data conference in New York, CEO Tom Reilly said the funding will give it the capital needed to extend its contributions to the open source Apache Hadoop community as well as investments its ISV partner ecosystem.

"Our funding is going to allow us to put more resources into the community," Reilly said. "While we have the founders and the innovators behind a lot of the projects, we see a lot of emerging projects we want to support, we want to integrate with [and] we want to bring it to our distribution."

Reilly made no secret that in addition to competing with other key Apache Hadoop distributors Hortonworks, MapR and Cloudera, with its new Enterprise Data Hub, is looking to challenge the key data management platform players, notably IBM and Pivotal. More than 200 ISVs already integrate with Cloudera's Hadoop-based Enterprise Data Hub and the company is in the process of certifying 105 of them, Reilly said.

"Both IBM and Pivotal do have distributions of Hadoop, they compete with us at that level, but then they have a stack of products that are very good products that they build on top," Reilly said. "We have a different view. Our Enterprise Data Hub is not only open at the core of Apache but it's open-architected." With the ISV integrations, he added, "that gives our customers a lot of choice and flexibility versus a stack approach." Though it competes with IBM on the stack side, Reilly noted Big Blue's Watson technology is complementary.

"We're building up our partnering team, we are putting engineers dedicated to each of our critical partners," Reilly said. Whether it's an ETL partner, our data warehouse, database partners, our BI, our analytic partners and making sure that the integrations are working, increasingly a lot of partners want their compute engine running inside our Enterprise Data Hub inside a cluster, so we're making that work more effectively."

Reilly was forthcoming of Cloudera's goal for an IPO but said "we still have a lot of work to do to get ready to be a public company." For example, Cloudera still manages its financials with QuickBooks, though it plans to move to an ERP system, is putting numerous new processes in place and just recently hired a general counsel.

"We do not need to depend on an IPO for a financing event," he said. "Rather we want to go public to bring transparency into our business, to give our customers confidence that we’re a long term sustainable business."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.