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September 18, 2014

Hortonworks will ‘not survive as a long-term business’ – Cloudera

Another row between the open source and proprietary rivals.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Cloudera, a provider of Apache Hadoop, has claimed its main rival, Hortonworks, will "not survive as a long-term business" as the firm looks to maintain market share leadership.

The company, which raised $160m from investors, including T Rowe Price and Google Ventures, in March, said Hortonworks’ business model is "undependable" and losing money "right now hand in hand".

Amr Awadallah, CTO and founder of Cloudera, told CBR: "I personally think that Hortonworks will not survive long-term as a business. That’s because their business model is undependable.

"They don’t have a defensible business model. They’re not doing okay now. And while they might be gaining customers and revenues, to create a healthy business you have to always contrast the revenue to how much is the cost of getting that revenue," he said in a briefing.

"If your revenue is less than the cost, then you’re losing money as a company, and you eventually run out of money. They’re losing money right now hand-in-hand, there’s no question about that."

He added that Cloudera’s proprietary management software is locking out competition from Hortonworks, which provides a 100% open source approach.

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"We have proprietary software that’s only unique to us, Cloudera Manager and Cloudera Navigator. Hortonworks doesn’t have anything like that software, which is a big disadvantage," he said.

"If you don’t have anything proprietary to you as a vendor, there is no uniqueness to you as a vendor. If anything you do is 100% open source, there is nothing unique about me."

Hortonworks has denied that they are losing money to the extent that Cloudera claims and disputed that their business model is indefensible.

"These desperate claims acknowledge we are gaining customers and market share at Cloudera’s expense. From the perspective of the enterprise buyer, Cloudera’s accusations should clearly indicate that they don’t understand how to successfully operate an open source business model." Mike Haro, Hortonwork’s director of corporate communications, told CBR.

Matt Aslett, 451’s research director for data platforms and analytics, added: "Cloudera and Hortonworks are competing aggressively, which is a positive thing for customers and the Hadoop ecosystem in general.

"However both companies are unfortunately prone to exaggerate the perceived flaws of the other’s business strategy to a level that can only be described as spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. This is to the detriment of both themselves and the potential success of Hadoop."

Music-streaming service Spotify ditched Cloudera’s software distribution for the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks enterprise support last year.

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