It’s smarter to partner with an industry leader than to try to displace it.

If there’s one lesson that tech startups that have been trying to disrupt the enterprise computing establishment over the past decade have learned, it is this: Disruption, in the world of corporate IT, is not a zero sum game.

Dropbox demonstrated this when it partnered with Microsoft. Box when it hooked-up with IBM. And today Cloudera can point to its own tangible evidence as it announces that its Hadoop distro will be available on Teradata’s Hadoop Appliance.

The Details

The Appliance will be named the Teradata Appliance for Hadoop with Cloudera. Cloudera would like to add “the enterprise-ready Hadoop distribution” to the already long name, suggesting that other Hadoop distros aren’t enterprise-ready which its competitors will, no doubt, want to differ with.

What the Appliance is, in the simplest of terms, is “Hadoop in a box”, so that companies who want get busy with big data and a full data stack don’t have to concern themselves with provisioning hardware, configuration, tuning and the like.

It provides a shortcut to big data crunching and should help Cloudera gain access to not only some Teradata customers but also to companies who have held off on Hadoop because the pains and skill sets required to go at it in their data centers presented a bigger risk than reward.

“Our relationship with Teradata is very important to us,” Clarke Patterson, Sr. Director, Product Marketing at Cloudera, told me last night.

It was only two years ago that his company’s co-founder and then CEO Mike Olson won headlines from major publications that said things like, “Cloudera Declares End of Data Warehousing Era.” Teradata, for anyone who is unfamiliar, is a data warehousing giant and is the top-rated Data Management Analytics Leader as designated by Gartner a few months ago.

Teradata, for its part, doesn’t hold any grudges.

“A few years ago new vendors (in the then emerging big data landscape) were trying to find a fit, the data ecosystem was trying to find a fit. There was some confusion about Cloudera’s Impala (some thought it was trying to be a Teradata replacement),” said Chris Twogood, VP of Product and Services Marketing for Teradata.

More Room in the Pool

And though Cloudera competitor, Hortonworks, has had a cozy relationship with Teradata since 2012, it wasn’t until late last year that Cloudera stuck its toe in Teradata's Data Lake. And welcoming water it is.

“Customers want to buy our Appliance. Some of them prefer Cloudera’s distro with Navigator and Manager,” said Twogood. “Others like Ambari.” Teradata wants to give its customers what they want and is, for the most part, agnostic around Hadoop brands. The only reason they don’t offer an appliance engineered with MapR’s Hadoop distro, according to Twogood, is that there hasn’t been any call for it.

Twogood also said that some Teradata customers (or soon-to-be customers) have indicated that they are ready to buy the Cloudera loaded and tuned appliance as soon as it becomes available in Q3. “They’ve been asking for it,” he explained.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise because while Hortonworks has had its Hadoop distro powering products from the likes of Microsoft, HP and Pivotal for quite a while.

Cloudera’s partner on plug and play appliance, up until today, has been limited to Oracle. And the market, we keep learning, wants choice and flexibility.

A Deeper Look

The Teradata Appliance for Hadoop with Cloudera, at a high level, looks much like the Teradata Appliance for Hadoop with Hortonworks.

They both provide seamless self-service data access to a full data platform that integrates Teradata, the Teradata Aster Discovery Platform and an Enterprise grade Hadoop distro.

Teradata sells and supports, or will sell and support, both (the Cloudera flavor becomes available in Q3). Cloudera and Hortonworks. The aforementioned each earn their checks by selling their Enterprise grade Hadoop distro’s to Teradata.

Look more closely under the hood and there are differentiators between what Cloudera and Hortonworks each have to offer. Since two choices aren’t too many to end up on a customer short list anyone shopping for a solution should consider which meets their needs best.

The big news today is that there's now a new lane on Teradata’s highway to big data analytics, this time it’s Cloudera paving the way.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by ryand1975.