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Cloudera goes enterprise with new Hadoop offering

Cloudera is embracing the open-core software model for Cloudera Enterprise, its latest distribution of tools and services for the Apache Hadoop project.


Cloudera, a provider of support and services around the open-source cloud platform Apache Hadoop, on Tuesday announced Cloudera Enterprise, a suite of subscription-only add-ons to its free distribution.

The core platform, called Cloudera's Distribution for Hadoop (or CDH for short), was first unveiled in March 2009 and is 100 percent open-source software. Now, the company is offering Cloudera Enterprise, a suite of additional tools for monitoring, managing, and administering a cluster in production to complement the core CDH platform--for a fee.

This business model fits into the open-core category, where companies charge for exclusive tools or functions on top of a totally open-source product. More and more open-source platform vendors are starting to follow this model as it doesn't force users to change the open-source product they are using, but allows them to provide value-added tools that users can pay for.

"You absolutely have to have an open-source offering if you're a platform vendor," Cloudera CEO Mike Olson told me earlier this week.

To service providers, this model is starting to make more sense than selling proprietary platforms, which can be difficult to scale up quickly, and services-only platforms, which are hard to build a sustainable business around (one exception being Red Hat). Companies need a product they can sell to make money, and that product must have a way to attract a user base. Hence the turn to open core.

For Cloudera's part, Olson said it believes companies want--and are willing to pay for--user and group authentication and roles, visual tools for managing large numbers of data feeds into a cluster, and other management tools that are important for conventional IT staff with critical applications who need easy-to-use dashboards.

But Cloudera isn't straying from its open-source roots. On Tuesday, it is also releasing CDH 3, the third version of its Hadoop distribution. Cloudera gives that away for free, and it includes eight additional open-source projects related to Hadoop to make the software easier to use.