Hadoop’s ability to deliver business growth is worth the bother

Hadoop is going to be big, but today, its adoption is still small. According to Gartner, there are only 1,000 Hadoop systems in production, with most companies not moving Hadoop beyond the proof of concept phase. Partly, this is a matter of difficulty: Hadoop isn’t easy to master. But don’t mistake Hadoop’s current production footprint with its potential: those companies that understand data’s value and focus on business growth can’t afford to overlook Hadoop.

What’s holding back Hadoop?

If anything, Hadoop’s biggest problem is that it’s simply not that easy to learn. Unlike other prominent big data technologies, like MongoDB, Hadoop requires significant effort to learn and master. Cloudera, Hortonworks, Splunk, and others are rapidly improving Hadoop’s usability, but it remains a hurdle to broader adoption.

Small wonder, then, that two years ago, Cloudera chief strategy officer and co-founder Mike Olson posited that “Hadoop’s value will be delivered through cloud apps vendors” that can hide its complexity while still delivering its value. Until then, each company must tackle Hadoop on its own. As Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular states: “Formulating a right question is always hard, but with big data, it is an order of magnitude harder, because you are blazing the trail (not grazing on the green field).”

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