MapR on Open Data Platform: Why we declined

MapR on Open Data Platform: Why we declined by John Schroeder.

From the post:

Open Data Platform is “solving” problems that don’t need solving

Companies implementing Hadoop applications do not need to be concerned about vendor lock-in or interoperability issues. Gartner analysts Merv Adrian and Nick Heudecker disclosed in a recent blog that less than 1% of companies surveyed thought that vendor lock-in or interoperability was an issue—dead last on the list of customer concerns. Project and sub-project interoperability are very good and guaranteed by both free and paid-for distributions. Applications built on one distribution can be migrated with virtually zero switching costs to the other distributions.

Open Data Platform participation lacks participation by the Hadoop leaders

~75% of Hadoop implementations run on MapR and Cloudera. MapR and Cloudera have both chosen not to participate. The Open Data Platform without MapR and Cloudera is a bit like one of the Big Three automakers pushing for a standards initiative without the involvement of the other two.

I mention this post because it touches on two issues that should concern all users of Hadoop applications.

On “vendor lock-in” you will find the question that was asked was “…how many attendees considered vendor lock-in a barrier to investment in Hadoop. It came in dead last. With around 1% selecting it.” Who Asked for an Open Data Platform?. Considering that it was in the context of a Gartner webinar, it could have been only one person selected it. Not what I would call a representative sample.

Still, I think John in right in saying that vendor lock-in isn’t a real issue with Hadoop. Hadoop applications aren’t off the shelf items and are custom constructs for your needs and data. Not much opportunity for vendor lock-in. You’re in greater danger of IT lock-in due to poor or non-existent documentation for your Hadoop application. If anyone tells you a Hadoop application doesn’t need documentation because you can “…read the code…,” they are building up job security, quite possibly at your future expense.

John is spot on about the Open Data Platform not including all of the Hadoop market leaders. As John says, Open Data Platform does not include those responsible for 75% of the existing Hadoop implementations.

I have seen that situation before in standards work and it never leads to a happy conclusion, for the participants, non-participants and especially the consumers, who are supposed to benefit from the creation of standards. Non-standards for a minority of the market only serve to confuse not overly clever consumers. To say nothing of the popular IT press.

The Open Data Platform also raises questions about how one goes about creating a standard. One approach is to create a standard based on your projection of market needs and to campaign for its adoption. Another is to create a definition of an “ODP Core” and see if it is used by customers in development contracts and purchase orders. If consumers find it useful, they will no doubt adopt it as a de facto standard. Formalization can follow in due course.

So long as we are talking about possible future standards, a practice of documentation more advanced than C style comments for Hadoop ecosystems would be a useful Hadoop standard in the future.

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