Hadoop Needs to Grow Up

    Slide Show

    How to Monetize Data in Five Steps

    We’re not even one week into 2015, and already Hadoop is being called out for needing to grow up.

    “Will 2015 be the year Hadoop delivers more broadly on its original promise of rich analytics on big data, or is this the beginning of another Trough of Disillusionment?” writes Steven Hillion in a guest post for VentureBeat.

    Hillion is the co-founder and chief product officer of Alpine Data Labs, an advanced analytics product. In part, it’s a self-serving question: This is the sweet spot Alpine purports to address, and he includes a link to a podcast on that very topic.

    Still, I don’t think anyone can argue with his basic premise, which is that most organizations don’t know how to leverage the potential of Hadoop. With the exception of the Internet giants — Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, and so on — most companies are using Hadoop to solve existing problems, including BI and even ETL processing.

    The problem is, you could do that already, right?

    “In many cases, today’s relational database technology is more than capable of performing these functions,” Hillion states. “Even though migrating them over to Hadoop can yield significant cost savings and greater flexibility, these applications in no way reflect the true value of the platform.”

    That’s a pretty darn good reason why Hadoop needs to step up its game in 2015. But you can’t just tell a technology to grow up — so where do we go from here?

    How about a Hadoop for the rest of us? That’s what GigaOm proposes in a recent commentary, “Big Data Needs a Product like Microsoft Access.”

    Access in itself was pretty useless, but what it did really well is give business users a way to tinker with and understand databases, argues writer Andrew J. Brust.

    “In order for Hadoop and other big data analytics technologies to see the same sort of adoption, we need a tool like Access that can serve as a catalyst, allowing business users to model concretely the kinds of big data systems that they need,” Brust writes.

    He’s put some serious thought into this, and outlines exactly what he thinks this tool — which he dubs Big Access — needs. It should be able to run on top of Hadoop, obviously, but also Apache Spark, Spark Streaming, Spark’s MLLib, Spark SQL, Hive or Pig and so on. It should support a number of developer languages, but operate without custom code. It should support a long list of integration with other enterprise applications, he adds. Obviously.


    Actually, reading the article makes me appreciate Microsoft Access a lot more. I mean, how can you not agree with his plan?

    I would assume that there’s a reason this doesn’t exist yet, so I was interested to see in the comments that several readers suggested PowerPivot as a good start on this. Several other products are discussed, as well as some links that are worth checking out.

    So who knows? Maybe this will be the year that Hadoop and Big Data open up more broadly to business users. To quote George Harrison, we’d be quite prepared for that eventuality.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

    Latest Articles