Could Big Data Be the Next Big Move for Red Hat?

by Sam Dean - Aug. 23, 2011Comments (1)

Is Red Hat interested in joining the Big Data trend? One of the biggest trends in computing at enterprises and even small- and medium-sized businesses is Big Data crunching, using tools such as the open source Hadoop. Businesses want to slice and dice their analytics and databases in new ways, surfacing views of everything from customer behavior to support trends in new ways. According to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, the explosion of data and new ways to sift it is squarely on his radar.

In an interview with, Whitehurst said:

"We basically have our data services layer. which tries to do some degree of data federation. Will there be more stuff around that? Certainly there will be."

Whitehurst also said he's not necessarily interested in putting Red Hat in the SQL database market, but he did say he we "would be very interested in a NoSQL type database or Hadoop type thing," referring to such tools as "net new." 

If Red Hat pursues this course of action, it wouldn't necessarily represent a different type of business model from the one the company has pursued in the past. Tradtionally, Red Hat has specialized in subscription support and services surrounding its open source software offerings.  There is no reason it couldn't translate that to subscription support for a tool like Hadoop.

Cloudera, of course, has made a very interesting business out of supporting Hadoop itself.  Could it be on Red Hat's acquisition radar? Who knows.

Whitehurst has a track record of keeping Red Hat very focused, which is part of how the company has flourished in bad economic times. But a Big Data play might pave the way for the next chapter in Red Hat's story, and Red hat is already an experienced player in the middleware market with JBoss. The company definitely has the clout with enterprise customers, and supporting them, to pull off an imaginative Big Data play.


Abhijit Prabhudan uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


I think it's definitely on their radar...

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