Cloudera: Riding an IoT-driven big data wave

Cloudera’s chief executive sees an ongoing shift towards more CEO-level involvement with data analytics

Cloudera, which provides a distribution of Apache Hadoop and associated services, says it is doubling business annually on the back of growth in the use of Hadoop to analyse the massive volumes of data being generated by connected ‘things’ of all kinds.

Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly told Computerworld that most of the growth in the market for data analytics software was being generated by Hadoop and driven by growth in the number of connected devices such as smartphones.

“The driver of our business is the Internet of Things, smartphones, cameras; all that data is in the cloud already,” the CEO said.

“The first iPhone that could download an app from the app store was launched in 2010. So it's only been six years. It is very, very recent. The smart watch, the Fitbit are all only a few years old. This connected world is only just beginning and it is happening at a pace that is unforeseen.”

“Organisations re-engineering themselves around this connected world is driving our growth,” he added. South East Asia is Cloudera’s fastest growing region, Reilly said. “It is where we are making our biggest investments.”

Analysts are predicting strong growth of the Hadoop market. Forecasts vary, with one of the most bullish coming from Allied Market Research. In January it said the global Hadoop market was expected to garner revenue of US$84.6 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 63.4 per cent from 2016 to 2021.

Reilly, during a visit to Australia, said: “In three days here I have met with eight CEOs and they have realised that this newly interconnected world is either a threat or an opportunity, and they want to make it an opportunity.”

Because most of the data its customers want to analyse is being generated in the cloud, Reilly said that the workloads Cloudera dealt with were increasingly following that trend.

“Large enterprises favour a hybrid approach, so our roadmap is designed to address both markets… Today 15-20 per cent of our customer workloads are in the cloud. Within the next year we will see that going to 30 per cent, and overall our business is doubling. I predict that in the next few years we will see a 50-50 balance between on-premises and cloud.”

Cloudera’s market focus is on the largest enterprises. Reilly said the company had identified about 8000 global organisations that, between them, manage 80 per cent of the world’s data. Today, it counts about 1000 of these organisations as customers, but according to Reilly these customers are only scratching the surface of potential use cases.

“We have yet to see the lifetime value of a client,” he said. “Every client has one only one use case but there are hundreds of use cases. One telco customer has identified 170 use cases just around customers.”

In parallel with this increasing awareness of the potential for data analytics was a shift from CIO to CEO-level involvement with data analytics, Reilly said.

“Three years ago we spent all our time with the IT department. Increasingly we spend our time with line of business executives who worry about top-line revenue.

“Two years ago people starting talking about data lakes and data hubs — platforms for all your data use cases, where all your data would reside. Now in 2016 the conversation has completely shifted to use cases and we have identifed boardroom-level use cases that every industry should be discussing about how they become a data-driven enterprise.”

Reilly concluded: “If you are a telco and you are not understanding your customer satisfaction, you are going to lose your customers. So our platform is about understanding customers to identify those that are about to churn. If you are a bank and you are not using data to understand your risk and free up capital, the regulator is going to put the squeeze on you.”

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