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May 20, 2015

Cloudera: ODP ‘antithetical’ to open source

Gartner skills gap is a 'red herring'.

By James Nunns

CBR spoke with Mike Olson, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Cloudera, about its relationship with the Open Data Platform, if it would ever join and disputing Gartner’s suggestion of a skills gap.

Olson was clear on his view of the ODP, the pay for membership organisation which he states is driven by vendors, not by users and not by SI’s or ISV’s.

"We had some early concern that this would be a major distraction in the market, but it’s certainly not playing out that way. Our position at the time of its launch was correct. In practice we haven’t seen ODP membership or non membership make much of a difference."

Olson and Cloudera are dedicated to the Apache Software Foundation, which they put faith in to continue to be the standards organisation, with Olson critical of the ODP for going against what open source stands for.

Olson stated that it was ‘antithetical to the spirit of ASF’ but maintained that Cloudera doesn’t consider it an issue, partly due to the strength of its platform and the fact that they do not see, "vendors who are concerned, or unwilling about certifying or developing on the Cloudera platform."

When looking to the future, it is clear that Olsen has no plans for the company to join ODP and is planning to actively participate in the ASF for the long term.

Of the ODP membership Olsen was critical: "If you look at the ODP players, Hortonworks is represented, but Pivotal has abandoned the field entirely and IBM has no meaningful position or contribution there."

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"If ODP continues to pick it up and package it then it’s really not a problem for us, we will drive the standard in the place where the standard has always been driven."

Regarding claims that a Hadoop skills gap is hurting adoption and that adoption rates are slowing, Olsen said: "I’d actually take a pretty strong counter position, I don’t think that growth of the Hadoop ecosystem is slowing, I don’t think adoption is slowing, the market is better than doubling."

And when you look at the skills gap, he expects that due to the rapid rate of adoption the supposed skills gap is simply down to between half and three quarters of users being new to the technology.

He believes that plenty is being done by Cloudera and other companies to train and build applications which fill that gap.

"The emergence of apps on a the platform will further drive adoption, in my opinion the skills gap is a bit of a red herring."

"The reason I think Gartner’s report is off base, enterprises don’t need to build deep data science skills if they can buy solutions and applications that run on top of the platform that allows them to solve business problems."

Olsen said that the market is in a similar position to what it was in during the 80’s and 90’s with relational databases and SQL experts.

"In this ecosystem, enterprises need to skill up, but we deliver management, data governance, data lineage, enterprise grade security tools, so I think we are taking care of the enterprise requirements."

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