Hadoop thoroughly disrupts the economics of data, analytics, and data-driven applications. That's cool because the unfortunate truth has been that the potential of most data lies dormant. On average, between 60% and 73% of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics. That's unacceptable in an age where deeper, actionable insights, especially about customers, are a competitive necessity. Enterprises are responding by adopting what Forrester calls "Hadoop and friends" (friends such as Spark and Kafka and others). Get Hadoop, but choose the distribution that is right for your enterprise.

Solid Choices All Around Make For Tough Choices

Forrester's evaluated five key Hadoop distributions from vendors: Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR Technologies, and Pivotal Software. Forrester's evaluation of big data Hadoop distributions uncovered a market with four Leaders and one Strong Performer:

  • Cloudera, MapR Technologies, IBM, and Hortonworks are Leaders. Enterprise Hadoop is a market that is not even 10 years old, but Forrester estimates that 100% of all large enterprises will adopt it (Hadoop and related technologies such as Spark) for big data analytics within the next two years. The stakes are exceedingly high for the pure-play distribution vendors Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR Technologies, which have all of their eggs in the Hadoop basket. Currently, there is no absolute winner in the market; each of the vendors focuses on key features such as security, scale, integration, governance, and performance critical for enterprise adoption.

    However, each pure-play vendor has a sweet spot strong enough to vigorously compete in the market (read the vendor profiles, below). IBM has the market strength, engineering prowess, and portfolio of analytics products to compete against the hot Hadoop startups. Choosing a Hadoop distribution will be difficult for most AD&D pros who carefully consider each of these Leaders. Forrester doesn't think there is a wrong choice among the Leaders in this evaluation. This is still a neck-and-neck market.

  • Pivotal Software is a Strong Performer. A Strong Performer among a Forrester Wave dominated by Leaders can still be a strong choice for an enterprise, especially if you value Pivotal Software's HAWQ SQL-for-Hadoop engine and MADlib machine learning library. Pivotal is an ODPi member, and thus some components of the Hadoop distribution will be equivalent to that of Leaders Hortonworks and IBM

Forrester clients can see the detailed report and analysis of each Hadoop distribution here: Forrester Wave: Big Data Hadoop Distributions, Q1 2016

Also, see what others are writing about our analysis:

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This research was conducted by Forrester analysts Mike Gualtieri and Noel Yuhanna.