Hadoop is open source, and Bank of America Managing Director for Big Data and Analytics Abhishek Mehta sees that as significant. In his vision of the future, organizations are turning into data clouds that customers can access to conduct business. Eventually, he told Wikibon Co-Founder David Vellante and SiliconAngle.tv Founder John Furrier in an interview on SiliconAngle.tv at Hadoop World, those separate clouds should merge.
“Hopefully Hadoop becomes a platform where people interoperate,” he said. “I think the last thing we should try to drive in the industry 10-to-15 years out is closed systems where the data sets don't merge and come together.” That, however, raises its own set of questions such as:
- What is the protocol for exchanging data?
- What are the new laws governing data – who owns it?
But if Hadoop does become the next big thing in databases and remains open source, what impact will that have on the existing database players such as IBM and Oracle, Mr. Furrier asked. That is the $100 billion question.
Mr. Mehta compared the possible impact of Hadoop to that of Linux, which has replaced several proprietary operating systems and semi-proprietary versions of Unix. Linux is having a major impact on the hardware and operating system market above the desktop, but the vendors realized its potential early and embraced it, building in the hooks to let it run as a native environment on their hardware, adding their own proprietary extensions and tools to surround it, and creating Linux versions of their software to run over it.
“I think we will see the large software vendors embracing Open Source phenomena like Hadoop and building software products in the ecosystem around it,” he says, adding that the room is there for those tools. “At a certain point an enterprise like ours needs certain critical things, such as information security, pipeline management, and business rules for things like personal privacy, built into that framework that the Open Source community may or may not provide.” Those areas may become the initial focus on vendor extension of the core Hadoop technology.
Action Item: Mr. Mehta acknowledges the large “white spaces” in the Hadoop platform today, a sign of its immaturity. “I call Hadoop a day-old baby,” he says. “It's kind of cute and has tremendous potential, but it is still a day-old baby, and the answers to the key open questions remain to be seen.”