Analyst reports can be a big bore -- the Forrester Wave: Big Data Hadoop Solutions, Q1 2014 ($2495 fee) is not.

Its authors, Mike Gualtieri and Noel Yuhanna, have done a bang-up job writing in simple English and giving a spot-on overview of what the market looks like:“cutthroat,” where “pure-play upstarts (Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR) must capture market share quickly to make venture investors happy” and in which “stalwart enterprise software vendors (IBM, Pivotal, Teradata) must avoid being disintermediated.” 

Interestingly, they separate cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft HDInsight for Windows Azure out from the pack. Ditto for Intel, the only vendor we haven’t yet mentioned, but also evaluated: it's innovating Hadoop at the chip level. Look for greater detail on that at CMSWire in the next few months.

“Hadoop’s momentum is unstoppable,” says the report and, of course, that’s no surprise. But its “market presence” revenue scores may not correspond to those in the Wikibon Big Data Revenue report we covered last month.

We should also note that findings of this kind tend to vary among analysts, and journalists, for that matter. If, for example, I were estimating market presence in an emerging market where revenues are not commonly disclosed, I might look at what percentage of individuals who mention Hadoop on their resumes or profiles have experience with which distributions.

But, since it’s Forrester’s report, we’ll share the criteria they used. You should keep them in mind, especially as you evaluate Hadoop-based products or services for your enterprise. And mind you, we’ll have some commentary as we go.

Rated on Three Criteria

Forrester used three big buckets in its Hadoop provider evaluation. They looked at each vendor’s current offering, strategy and market presence.

It’s worth noting that in the “Current Offering” evaluation they included a “Hadoop compatibility and community” factor. This is something that buyers who truly embrace Open Source will no doubt care about, partly because they find proprietary vendors’ “you can check-in but you can’t check out” philosophy archaic and offensive, and partly because they believe that by working together the community can build a better product than any one group on its own.

Cloudera, Intel and Hortonworks all got high marks (five out of five) according to this criteria; Microsoft and MapR scored four out of five, and AWS, IBM, Pivotal and Teradata all scored three.