Even Amazon Web Services sage Werner Vogels is impressed with Cloudera’s partnership with Intel and the 900 M it has raised in the last week.

The future of the data center and computing’s third platform may now belong to Cloudera. Everyone knows it has the money, the investors and the know how to build it.

So do Pivotal and IBM by the way. But it’s worth noting that the three companies may not be offering exactly the same products/services and approaching the market in exactly the same way. In fact, they might not even be after the exact same thing.

In other words, this isn’t a contest between the three vendors, at least not yet anyway. Both Alan Saldich, vice president of Marketing Cloudera and Josh Klahr, vice president, Data Platform Product Management for Pivotal told me, in separate conversations, that the companies do some of the same, but also some different things.

Validating an Opportunity

Cloudera, for example, at least up until now, hasn’t worked with customers to develop business applications that might, for example, predict when a kid is most likely to have an asthma attack and needs his medication refilled.

That being said, both companies do offer Hadoop distros, based on the Apache project (Cloudera seems more committed to contributing the Apache project) and other big data solutions around which they add value.

The management of these companies doesn’t seem to be all that worried about each other. In fact Pivotal’s Klahr says that the $900 million Cloudera just raised is validation that the market opportunity around big data is huge.

He adds that the journey to realize those opportunities is long and expensive.

Not only that, but Klahr thinks that Cloudera now has the money to make a go of it.

Pivotal’s initial stash of cash wasn’t too shabby. It began its journey with investments from parent EMC, its spinoff VMWare and GE.

Learning Opportunities

Pivotal, it should be noted, does something that Cloudera does not, it helps clients build data-driven business applications. At this point, we haven’t heard that this is one of Cloudera’s aspirations.


The Windows Equivalent of Hadoop?

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote on the subject:

Frank Artale, a former executive at Microsoft during the 1990s, it was also a reminder of the power of Intel to drive major technological changes. When Intel committed to working with Microsoft to make Windows run well on Intel chips, “their customers – folks like Compaq or HP – said ‘Intel trusts it, so we trust it,’ and then corporate customers trusted the infrastructure,” said Mr. Artale, now a managing director with venture firm Ignition Partners."

It’s worth noting that Ignition Partners is a Cloudera investor.


What it Means to Hortonworks and MapR

While no one has yet asked what Cloudera’s Intel partnership and $900 million investment-win means to Hortonworks and MapR, who were once considered to be Cloudera competitors, we’ll be looking to answer that question as soon as an opportunity to speak with the aforementioned appears. And as for those who we pooh-poohing Cloudera’s Enterprise Data Hub strategy it seems that there’s at least one believer who is willing to put big money on it.

It’s about the Chip

And, finally, as for Intel’s interest in the Hadoop market, we were right on the money when we wrote about it more than a year ago. Speaking of Intel’s entry into the Hadoop space we said:

If everything works as presented, this is a good thing and not so much a disruption (unless you make ARM chips). In fact, some industry watchers say that if the Big Data and Analytics market grows quickly enough, Intel will bow out of the Hadoop space (if it’s in the way) without too much complaint. What they want, in the long run, is to have Hadoop distributions optimized for their products so that they remain the dominant player when Hadoop becomes adopted Enterprise wide.”