White: Mind the hype in evaluating and choosing Hadoop technology

By now, Hadoop has become a familiar term in IT departments and executive offices alike, having been propelled into the data management, business intelligence (BI) and analytics spotlight by the growing interest in big data applications -- and the huge amount of hype surrounding them. In many companies, there has been more talk than action on Hadoop technology thus far. But that appears to be changing, according to Colin White, president of consultancy BI Research in Ashland, Ore.

White authored a technology guide on Hadoop platforms that was published by TechTarget Inc.'s BI Leadership unit in July. In a video interview recorded at the 2013 Pacific Northwest BI Summit, he said that based on his conversations with users and vendors in researching the report, more organizations are starting to deploy Hadoop clusters. "It's still very much early days, but there's no question that there is increasing interest and increasing use," he said. And in turn, choosing the right way to go on Hadoop is increasingly an IT action item.

When evaluating Hadoop tools, one of the biggest challenges cited by White is getting a firm grasp of the capabilities of different products -- and separating Hadoop fact from fiction. "Inevitably, when you get any new technology, all of the vendors jump on the bandwagon," he said. "There is a lot of reality there, but there's also a lot of hype." He added that before choosing a Hadoop platform, companies also need to make sure they fully understand their business goals so they'll be able to sift through all of the vendor talk and find the Hadoop architecture that will work best for them.

In addition, companies have to be pragmatic and assess whether they have the necessary in-house skills to deploy a Hadoop cluster, according to White. Cost issues are another important consideration, despite Hadoop's open source nature. "You have to take a step back and look at the total cost of ownership," he said. "It's not only the cost of the hardware and the cost of the software; it's the cost of actually installing it and maintaining it, and then developing applications that run on top of Hadoop."

In the interview with SearchDataManagement Executive Editor Craig Stedman at the summit in Grants Pass, Ore., White offered further advice on the key factors to consider when evaluating and selecting Hadoop technology. Viewers of the five-minute video will:

  • Hear White's observations about the maturity and enterprise-readiness of Hadoop software.
  • Learn about the most prevalent use cases for Hadoop applications.
  • Learn to what degree vendor viability should be a consideration when deciding on a Hadoop platform.

Text by Emma Preslar, editorial assistant. Email us at [email protected] 
and follow us on Twitter: @sDataManagement.

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