Hadoop where are you heading to?


One of my 5 predictions for 2019 is about Hadoop. Basically, I do expect that a lot of projects won’t take Hadoop as a full-blown solution anymore. Why is that?

Basically, one of the most exciting news in 2018 was the merger between Hortonworks and Cloudera. The two main competitors now joining forces? How can this happen? Basically, I do believe that a lot of that didn’t come out of a strength of the two and that they somehow started to “love” each other but rather out of economical calculations. Now, it isn’t a competition between Hortonworks or Cloudera anymore (even before the merger), it is rather Hadoop vs. new solutions. These solutions are highly diversified – Apache Spark is one of the top competitors to it. But there are also other platforms such as Apache Kafka and some NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, plus TensorFlow emerging. One would now argue that all of that is included in a Cloudera or Hortonworks distribution, but it isn’t as simple as that. Spark and Kafka founders provider their own distributions of their stack, more lightweight than the complex Hadoop stack. In several use-cases, it is simply not necessary to have a full-blown solution but rather go for a light-weighted one.

But the real thread rather comes from something else: the Cloud. Hadoop was always running better on bare-metal and still both pre-merger companies are arguing that in fact Hadoop does better run on bare-metal. Other solutions such as Spark are performing better in the Cloud and built for the Cloud. This is the real threat for Hadoop, since the Cloud is simply something that won’t go away now – with most companies switching to it. Object stores provide a great and cheap alternative to HDFS and the management of Object Stores is ways easier. I only call it an alternative here since Object Stores still miss several Enterprise Features. However, I expect that the large cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft will invest significantly in this space and provide great additions to their object stores even this year. Object Stores in the cloud will catch up fast this year – and probably surpass HDFS functionality by 2020. If this happens and the cost benefits remain better than bare-metal Hadoop, there is really no need for it anymore. On the analytics layer, the cloud is also ways superior. Running dynamic Spark Jobs against data in object stores (or managed NoSQL databases) are impressive. You don’t have to manage Clusters anymore, which takes a lot of pain and headache away from large IT departments. This will increase performance and speed of developments. Another disadvantage I see for the leading Hadoop solutions is their salesforce: they get better compensated for on-prem solutions, so they try to tell companies to keep out of the cloud – which isn’t the best strategy in 2019.

However, there is still some hope about Enterprise Integration, which is often handled better from Hadoop distributions. And even though the entire world is moving on the Cloud, there are still many legacy systems running on-premise. Also, after the HWX/Cloudera merger, their mission statement became of being the leading company for big data in the cloud. So if they are going to fully execute this, I am sure that there will be a huge market share ahead of them – and the initially described threads could even be turned down. Let’s see what 2019 and 2020 will bring in this respect 🙂

I lead a team of Senior Experts in Data & Data Science as Head of Data & Analytics and AI at A1 Telekom Austria Group. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data & Data Science.

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