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September 5, 2019updated 06 Sep 2019 10:07am

Cloudera Bounces Back: Carl Icahn Wades In, CDP Pending, Another Deal…

Performance has "materially improved"

By CBR Staff Writer

Life at Cloudera must be anything but dull: three months after the data analytics company lost its CEO and reported brutally disappointing earnings, it has bounced back with revenues of $196.7 million, comfortably above analyst expectations. Hadoop and its trappings, it would seem, may have been buried by some, but it ain’t dead yet.

Subscription revenue was a healthy $164.1 million, despite pressure from hyperscale cloud providers’ own offerings. Marty Cole, chairman of the board and interim CEO, said: “Our internal metrics and pipeline generation have materially improved from Q1 levels… We are ‘on plan’ for achieving our objectives for this fiscal year.”

The improvements come a month after corporate raider Carl Icahn increased his interest in the company and secured two seats on Cloudera’s board. Icahn told CNBC in early August: “I think it’s a very undervalued company. Going at one-and-a-half times revenue for a company like that? I think it’s very attractive. It’s undervalued.”

Read this: Cloudera Touts Red Hat as Inspiration, Goes All-In on Open Source

Cloudera is working overtime to deliver its new Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) — a synthesis of its and acquisition Hortonworks’ data analytics platforms with some new cherries on top — and is expected to publicly roll out its CDP later this month.

The company is, post Red Hat acquisition, the world’s largest independent open source vendor by patches and by revenue and is heavily involved in over 30 open source projects; some of them overlapping, following its deal to buy Hortonworks.

One of its ongoing strategic challenges is to assess which of its open source projects to offer as managed services, and which to leave in the hands of third-party partners; whom, as CFO Mick Hollison earlier told Computer Business Review, “are offering managed services not just for CDW  but for the totality of the Cloudera platform.”

Cloudera Revival: CDP Beta, and Another Acquisition?

During the quarter Cloudera delivered an initial release of CDP, which is its forthcoming cloud-native data management and analytics offering, and this week also revealed that it has also agreed to buy fellow Hadoop and Kafka specialist Arcadia Data.

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Another acquisition at this time is arguably unusual given the complexities, cost, and product wrangling involved in integrating with Hortonworks after a $5.2 billion merger agreed in 2018. But Cloudera says access to Arcadia’s patent-pending ArcEngine technology (which provides “self-service access” to data and improved analytics response times, by using machine learning to anticipate and pre-compute common queries and reports; cutting workflow time) makes it a no-brainer.

“Arcadia Data and Cloudera have many joint customers, and integrating our technology into Cloudera’s platform will make it even easier for enterprises to receive the insights they need to drive intelligent business decisions,” added Sushil Thomas, CEO at Arcadia Data. “Our joint expertise with Cloudera will benefit customers and foster enhanced innovation, as end users will be able to act on data insights more quickly than ever.”

Interim CEO “Very Focussed”

Interim CEO Cole told investors: “I’m  very focused on the execution of our financial plans. We are deliberately balancing our investments in continued growth and disciplined expense management through improved cash flow.

“Second, I am focused on retaining and growing as many of our customers as possible. Cloudera’s base of large ARR customer is stable and has continued to expand each quarter, including in Q2. I’ve gotten increasingly active with our customer base, as was my practice at Accenture, and all of my interactions have been positive. Customers are enthusiastic about CDP and the Enterprise Data Cloud.

“Third, I am focused on our employees and our culture. We have a very talented group of people at Cloudera, distributed across the globe who are driving real innovation for the benefit of our customers. I’m working with the leadership team to create a more disciplined and action-oriented culture and to make Cloudera a great place for current and future employees to advance their careers.”

Read this: Q&A: Cloudera’s Fight Back Begins in 3, 2, 1… 

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