Enterprise Hadoop Adoption: Half Empty or Half Full?

Hadoop is speeding through the early majority phase of the adoption curve

As we approach Hadoop Summit in San Jose next week, the debate continues over where Hadoop really is on its adoption curve. George Leopold from Datanami was one of the first to beat the hornet’s nest with his article entitled Gartner: Hadoop Adoption ‘Fairly Anemic’. Matt Asay from TechRepublic and Virginia Backaitis from CMSWire volleyed back with Hadoop Numbers Suggest the Best is Yet to Come and Gartner’s Dismal Predictions for Hadoop Could Be Wrong, respectively.

At the center of the controversy is the report published by Merv Adrian and Nick Heudecker from Gartner: Survey Analysis: Hadoop Adoption Drivers and Challenges. Specifically, the Gartner survey shows that 26% of respondents are deployed, piloting or experimenting; 11% plan to invest within 12 months; and an additional 7% plan to invest within 24 months.

Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

I believe the root of the controversy comes not in the data points stated above, but in the phrasing of one of the key findings statements: “Despite substantial hype and reported successes for early adopters, over half of respondents (54%) report no plans to invest at this time. Additionally, only 18% have plans to invest in Hadoop over the next two years.

The statement is phrased in the negative sense, from a lack of adoption perspective. While not wrong, it represents a half-empty perspective that is more appropriate for analyzing mature markets such as the RDBMS market, which is $100s of billions in size and decades into its adoption curve. Comparing today’s Hadoop market size and adoption to today’s RDBMS market is not particularly useful. However, comparing the RDBMS market at the time it was five years into its adoption cycle might be an interesting exercise.

When talking about adoption for newer markets like Enterprise Hadoop, I prefer to frame my view using the classic technology adoption lifecycle that models adoption across five categories with corresponding market share %s: Innovators (2.5%), Early Adopters (13.5%), Early Majority (34%), Late Majority (34%), and Laggards (16%).

Putting the Gartner data into this context shows Hadoop in the Early Majority of the market at the classic inflection point of its adoption curve.


As a publicly traded enterprise open source company, not only is Hortonworks code open, but our corporate performance and financials are open too. Earlier this month, we released Hortonworks’ first quarter earnings. In Q4-2014 and Q1-2015, we added 99 and 105 new subscription customers respectively, which means we added over 46% of our 437 subscription customers in the past 6 months. If we look at the Fortune 100, 40% are Hortonworks subscribers including: 71% of F100 retailers, 75% of F100 Telcos, and 43% of F100 banks.

We see these statistics as clear indicators of the building momentum of Open Enterprise Hadoop and the powerful Hortonworks model for extending Hadoop adoption across all industries. I won’t hide the fact that I am guilty of having a Half Full approach to life. As a matter of fact, I proudly wear the t-shirt every chance I get. The Half Full mindset serves us well at Hortonworks, because we see the glass filling quickly. The numbers for the last two quarters show that momentum.

Come Feel the Momentum at Hadoop Summit on June 9th in San Jose!

If you’d like to see the Hadoop momentum for yourself, then come join us at Hadoop Summit in San Jose starting June 9th.

Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, will be a repeat keynote presenter this year. At Hadoop Summit 2012, he laid out a technology adoption roadmap for Big Data from the point of view of technology providers. Join Geoff as he updates that roadmap with a specific focus on business customers and the buying decisions they face in 2015.

Mike Gualtieri, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, will also be presenting. Join Mike for his keynote entitled Adoption is the Only Option—Five Ways Hadoop is Changing the World and Two Ways It Will Change Yours.

In addition to keynote speakers, Summit will host more than 160 sessions being delivered by end user organizations, such as Aetna, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mercy, Microsoft, Noble Energy, Verizon, Walt Disney, and Yahoo!, so you can get the story directly from the elephant’s mouth.

San Jose Summit 2015 promises to be an informational, innovative and entertaining experience for everyone.

Come join us. Experience the momentum for yourself.

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