OK Cloudera, you say the world’s only commercial pure Open Source Hadoop distro provider, Hortonworks, doesn’t have a sustainable business model?

Well, let’s see Wall St. thinks.

Today, the company unveiled news that it confidentially filed its S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in August under the auspices of the JOBS Act. Form S-1 is used by companies planning on going public to register their securities with the SEC.

While many think that IPO’s are about founders cashing in on their blood sweat and tears, you can bet that Hortonworks is raising money for one specific reason — namely, to get the capital it needs to become the world’s predominant enterprise Hadoop provider.

Open Source Believers

In my many conversations while covering the company over the past few years, one thing could not be more clear, that its early founders are hell-bent on building the open source community around Hadoop and helping enterprises leverage the big data crunching software to the hilt.

Though company co-founder, Arun C. Murthy, whom many consider to be the “father” of Hadoop 2.0 which centers on YARN, gives the credit for many of Hadoop’s monumental gains to the greater Apache Hadoop community, the reality is that both he and the team at Hortonworks worked night and day to bring the major advancement to life.

As a result, Hortonworks pitch to the market is, “We are in a better position to work with you and support you in your use of Hadoop than our competitors because we wrote the code.”

Enterprise software providers as big as Microsoft and Teradata seem to have bought-in because their big data appliances are based on HDP, Hortonworks’ enterprise Hadoop distro.

While over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at the IPO filing itself, for now market-watchers and competitors are focused on two important questions:

First, as Ovum’s IT Analyst, Tony Baer, asks, Is Hadoop a real business? That question is relevant because no other Hadoop provider has gone public yet.

And, second, is a pure open source software (OSS) business (Hortonworks doesn’t sell software like competitors MapR and Cloudera do) have enough potential to invest in?

There’s little question that OSS enthusiasts hope so, but Red Hat has been the only success to date.

Balance This

We’re going to hold off saying much about the numbers just yet; it’s prudent to take time to read the filing before mouthing off. But here’s an early reaction: