We announced a partnership today – a close relationship with Microsoft, and the deep integration of our products with a special focus on the cloud – that is a big deal for us here at Cloudera. It’s a bigger deal, we think, for our customers and the market at large, and I want to explain why we’re so excited about it.
In the early days, our customers mostly set up and ran our product in their own data centers. That was a natural thing to do. Original Apache Hadoop had been designed to run on bare metal, not on virtual servers. More importantly, most of the data that our enterprise customers wanted to work with was already inside their data centers. They were looking at financial transactions, machine logs, or medical records. They were doing bigger and more powerful processing and analysis of that data than ever before, but it was generally stuff they had or could easily get in-house.
New data sets are often, and increasingly, cloud-native. Sensor data streams – wearables, sensors in buildings or on industrial equipment and so on – are generated from all over the world, and it’s often easier to land that data in the public cloud than to build the network and storage capacity to put it in the data center. We believe that data is going to live where it’s born. Big data in the cloud means we need to put Cloudera’s enterprise data hub in the cloud.
There are excellent legal, regulatory and business reasons to put some data and systems on premise. That will stay true for a long time. But even traditional enterprises realize that there are cost and flexibility advantages to choosing the public cloud for data and workloads that allow it.
Note the tension there: Our customers do, and will, demand the ability to keep Cloudera inside their own private cloud for some workloads. They need us to support them in the public cloud as well. It’s not just us. Database, ERP, directory services, analytic and reporting tools and other critical business systems are getting deployed where it makes the most business sense to put them. Enterprises are running core systems and services in different places. They want to view them as a coherent and consistent whole. “Hybrid cloud” is happening.
Today, we’re announcing native support for Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform in Cloudera Enterprise. Customers can spin up a Cloudera cluster from the Microsoft Application Gallery remarkably quickly and easily – a single button press will produce a ready-to-use big data platform. We’ve been working closely for some time with our colleagues at Microsoft to integrate our platforms and to create an outstanding user experience.
The software that’s available now is a pre-production evaluation version. Our next major release, Cloudera 5.3, will be out in December and will be our first ever production-ready Azure offering. We think that Cloudera is a fantastic addition to the Microsoft cloud and analytics portfolio including AzureML, PowerBI and other tools.
Microsoft customers get Cloudera integrated with the tools and data platforms they already use. We’ve made it simple to move data between SQL Server and Cloudera; ODBC and JDBC support mean that desktop BI tools including Excel can pull data from Cloudera; and so on. That’s true in the cloud and on premise. And, of course, users get all the power of in-place processing and analysis of data using Cloudera’s enterprise data hub.
Since Satya Nadella introduced Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first focus strategy early this year, we’ve been impressed by the company’s commitment to delivering a rich set of cloud services for customers. We want our customers to have exactly the same flexibility to deploy behind the firewall or in the public cloud that they get with Microsoft’s products generally.
So what are the details of the partnership?
Cloudera is a Microsoft Certified Azure Partner. That means we’ve done the technical work and testing required to make sure that our product runs well on Azure. Cloudera is a preferred partner of Microsoft, and Microsoft is a preferred partner of Cloudera. That means we’re committed to working closely on product roadmap, and to collaborating across our entire company to deliver the very best big data platform that we can for the Microsoft ecosystem. Our product, partner and field teams have been focused on building the offering, and crafting the message and go-to-market strategy, that will make our December GA release a resounding success.
It’s been a pleasure to work with the Microsoft team for the past months in preparation for this announcement. I look forward to building on this tremendous foundation for the long term!