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Cloudera harnesses Hadoop for the enterprise

The company releases its first commercial business-friendly distribution of cloud platform Hadoop, the engine that powers Google. It will make the enterprise digestible by the Web.

The industry's premier Web players--Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook--agree on at least one thing: the future is cloud computing, and Hadoop is the engine to power the cloud.

Cloudera, the company set up to harness the power of Hadoop for the enterprise, on Monday released its first commercial product, the Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop.

The Web, and how enterprises use it, will never be the same.

If I sound a little giddy, it's because I am. I think that Cloudera's distribution for Hadoop is one of the biggest things to happen to the enterprise ever because it opens up the world's biggest processing engine, the Web, to the average enterprise. As Ashlee Vance wrote recently in The New York Times, "the analytical powers of Hadoop can benefit a whole new class of businesses," ranging from companies specializing in biotechnology to oil and gas.

Hadoop makes the Web digestible for the enterprise. Or, rather, it makes the enterprise digestible by the Web. It derived from Google's innovative work with MapReduce, the technology that enables Google's massive Linux server farm to run efficiently and at peak performance.

When Yahoo discovered what Google was doing with MapReduce and Hadoop, it put a massive development team on the project to remove any advantage Google might have had by its early adoption. The story, which you can watch on YouTube, is pretty amazing.

Doug Cutting, the brilliant engineer behind Hadoop but also the open-source Lucene search engine, didn't open-source Hadoop in order to win plaudits with open-source monastics. In talking with Cloudera, it's clear that Cutting's purpose was simply to show other developers how to do Hadoop right, and the currency of development is code, not talk. So he open-sourced it.

Millions of dollars of investment by Google and Yahoo later, you can download Hadoop for free, including Cloudera's enterprise distribution, which offers a complete system to handle the processing and storage of big data. It's like putting the Web at your company's beck and call.

Best of all, Cloudera, in quintessential open-source fashion, charges customers for support and other add-on value. The price of entry, therefore, is $0.00.

Cloudera just raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Accel Partners and including open-source luminary Marten Mickos. But the real money should come as enterprises put the Web to work using the Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop.

You can view a screencast on how to configure the distribution online. Or you can simply download the software and get started. That's the power of open source,and particularly the power of open-source Hadoop: harnessing the power of the Web, with Cloudera available to facilitate--and not slow down--the process.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.