Yahoo Spinoff Hortonworks and LexisNexis' HPCC Systems Expand the Big Data Field

The big data playing field grew larger with the formation of Hortonworks and HPCC Systems. Hortonworks is a new company consisting of key architects and core contributors to the Apache Hadoop technology pioneered by Yahoo. In addition, HPCC Systems, which has been launched by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, aims to offer a high performance computing cluster technology as an alternative to Hadoop.           

Primary investors in Hortonworks include Benchmark Capital and Yahoo. According to the companies, Hortonworks will be a leading contributor to the Apache Hadoop open source technology and will also assist enterprises and technology vendors in developing and deploying Apache Hadoop based solutions.

"Forming Hortonworks with Benchmark Capital is the natural next step in the evolution of Apache Hadoop," said Jay Rossiter, senior vice president, Cloud Platform Group at Yahoo, in a statement issued by the company.  "As Hadoop demand continues to increase, Hortonworks will help organizations more rapidly and effectively implement the technology to derive value and insights from large data sets."

Yahoo will continue to invest in core Hadoop innovation and contribute code to Apache Hadoop, wroteYahoo CTO Raymie Stata in a recent blog post. "We're processing 5 billion jobs per month and have grown our Hadoop installation to more than 40,000 servers. We will continue to push the limits of what's possible on Hadoop, and will continue passing along our knowledge and code to you through Apache." Stata added, "There's an amazing opportunity to develop Hadoop solutions designed for the enterprise and for specific industries. Hortonworks is in a prime position to develop those solutions and expand the capabilities of Hadoop to a broader user base."

Eric Baldeschwieler, formerly vice president of software engineering for the Hadoop team at!, has been named CEO of Hortonworks. The investment by Yahoo and Benchmark Capital in Hortonworks is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close this month.

And, in a move intended to provide competition to Hadoop, LexisNexis announced it will offer a data intensive supercomputing platform under a dual license, open source model, as HPCC Systems. Described as being designed for the enterprise to solve big data problems, LexisNexis says the platform has been proven with customers for the past decade. According to LexisNexis, customers such as banks, insurance companies, utilities, law enforcement and federal government use the HPCC platform technology through various LexisNexis products and services. The HPCC platform specializes in the analysis of structured and unstructured data for enterprise class organizations.

"We feel the time is right to offer our HPCC technology platform as a dual license, open source solution. We believe that HPCC Systems will take big data computing to the next level," said James M. Peck, chief executive officer, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. "We've been doing this quietly for years for our customers with great success. We are now excited to present it to the community to spur greater adoption."

HPCC Systems will be managed by Armando Escalante, who will also continue in his role as the senior vice president and chief technology officer of LexisNexis Risk Solutions.