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October 06, 2014
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How to Think About Partnerships in the Enterprise Hadoop Ecosystem

Since our founding over three years ago, a core part of our strategy has been on enabling the enterprise to use Hadoop in the context of their existing technologies via a Modern Data Architecture. From the earliest days of the company when we hired Mitch Ferguson to head our business development efforts, we’ve been working closely with data center ecosystem leaders, large and small, to integrate Hadoop so that it can take it’s place in the next generation data architecture.

Genesis of partnership

In 2011 and 2012, we established strategic engineering relationships with large industry leading vendors Microsoft and Teradata, respectively, and most recently our partnership with HP,  validating our 100% open source strategy for Apache Hadoop. More importantly this enables our strategic partners’ ecosystems and communities of users to derive value from their data and to allow them to have more data under management. The genesis of these strategic partnerships was, and continues to be, Hortonworks’ unique leadership and involvement in Apache Hadoop development, respect and commitment to the Apache community, and commitment to enable a vibrant ecosystem. We also formed technology partnerships with a diverse set of technology companies in data management, analytics and data processing space during that time and continue to form these partnerships at an increasing rate. Our partner network now includes both hardware (IHV) and software (ISV) vendors up and down and across the spectrum of data technologies, a sample of which is shown in the diagram below.

Modern Data Architecture

A simple menu of choice for our technology partners

We have seen an increase in the number of companies signing partnership deals in and around the Hadoop space but these relationships are not created equally so it’s important to structure these interactions to explain the value and the differences. One way to structure this is to describe these partnerships into four simple categories.

Building from the first category, each level is cumulative bringing additional value to the enterprise.

Category 1: Technology partnerships These partnerships are represented by the exchange of technical information, reference architectures and integration with existing platform APIs.
Category 2: Certified technologies These more advanced partnerships where integration between products is tested, validated and verified giving the enterprise additional assurance of interoperability.
Category 3: Joint engineering Continuing to add technical value these partnerships are represented by joint development activities, shared integration roadmaps, regular engineering and product management synch meetings and open exchanges of ideas.
Category 4: Strategic reseller At the peak of this hierarchy are technology partnerships, which also include joint selling activities, aligned GTM plans and activities, a shared vision for how technologies solve customer challenges and more.


As organizations are looking to make the journey to a modern data architecture, they look to these types of partners to ensure their current investments are preserved and enhanced with the addition of Apache Hadoop. This framework can help guide them on their investments to complete their journey.

At Hortonworks we’ve been working harder than any vendor in our space on partnerships in each of these categories.

Recent examples include:

These are but a handful of examples of our work with the ecosystem.

Breadth and depth of relationships are important to enterprise customers

Many of our relationships with the major ecosystem vendors started with a joint engineering focus. Companies in this category include HP, Microsoft, Red Hat, Teradata, SAP, SAS, and many others. These are the technologies that the enterprises have heavily invested in and enterprises are looking to these investments to leverage the power and scalability of Hadoop. Optimized joint integrations and solutions with the Hortonworks Data Platform enables enterprises to quickly utilize and leverage Hadoop as part of their next generation data management platform.

Over the coming weeks and months, there will certainly be more partnership announcements in and around the Hadoop space. It’s important to put those in perspective of the company strategy and how that enables organizations to best take advantage of Hadoop and their existing investments. We would expect ALL partners to become a technology partner or certified partner with every Hadoop distribution. However, the real value in a partnership comes through a joint engineering or joint go to market relationship investment and most partners will invest and lean in heavily only with their preferred partner. Our Certified, Joint Engineering and Strategic Reseller Partners agree that optimized joint offerings are the cornerstone for the success of enterprise customers.

We will continue to invest heavily with our partners in jointly enabling enterprise Hadoop to help drive value and insight from of new types of data.

You can read more about our partnerships here.


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