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Cloudera Raises $160M, Will Expand Hadoop Resources

As it eyes an initial public offering, Cloudera this week raised $160 million in funding from some big-name investors. The company plans to invest much of the proceeds in engineering resources to extend its contributions to the Apache Hadoop community.

Cloudera, the leading provider of Apache Hadoop, an open source framework for storing and processing in real-time large-scale unstructured datasets using commodity hardware and cloud infrastructure, received the huge infusion from T. Rowe Price, Google Ventures and an affiliate of MSD Capital, the private investment firm for Michael Dell and his family.

With this week's investment, Cloudera now has $300 million in venture funding. Speaking Thursday morning on a panel at the GigaOM Structure Data conference in New York, CEO Tom Reilly said the funding will give Cloudera the capital needed to extend its contributions to the open source Apache Hadoop community, as well as investments for its ISV partner ecosystem.

"Our funding is going to allow us to put more resources into the community," Reilly said. "While we have the founders and the innovators behind a lot of the projects, we see a lot of emerging projects we want to support, we want to integrate with [and] we want to bring it to our distribution."

Reilly made no secret that in addition to competing with other key Apache Hadoop distributors Hortonworks and MapR, Cloudera, with its new Enterprise Data Hub, is looking to challenge the key data management platform players, notably IBM and Pivotal. More than 200 ISVs already integrate with Cloudera's Hadoop-based Enterprise Data Hub and the company is in the process of certifying 105 of them, Reilly said.

"Both IBM and Pivotal do have distributions of Hadoop. They compete with us at that level, but then they have a stack of products that are very good products that they build on top," Reilly said. "We have a different view. Our Enterprise Data Hub is not only open at the core of Apache but it's open-architected." With the ISV integrations, he added, "that gives our customers a lot of choice and flexibility versus a stack approach." Though it competes with IBM on the stack side, Reilly noted Big Blue's Watson technology is complementary.

"We're building up our partnering team. We are putting engineers dedicated to each of our critical partners," Reilly said. "Whether it's an ETL partner, our data warehouse, database partners, our BI, our analytic partners and making sure that the integrations are working, increasingly a lot of partners want their compute engine running inside our Enterprise Data Hub inside a cluster, so we're making that work more effectively."

Reilly was forthcoming about Cloudera's goal for an IPO but said, "We still have a lot of work to do to get ready to be a public company." For example, Cloudera still manages its financials with QuickBooks, though it plans to move to an ERP system. It is also putting numerous new processes in place and just recently hired a general counsel.

"We do not need to depend on an IPO for a financing event," Reilly said. "Rather, we want to go public to bring transparency into our business, to give our customers confidence that we're a long-term, sustainable business."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/20/2014 at 12:42 PM


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