Seeking to reduce the amount of complexity surrounding the Hadoop and big data environment, a host of vendors, systems integrators and end users came together today to announce the creation of the Open Data Platform (ODP) association, which will provide a big data kernel in the form of a tested reference core of Apache Hadoop, Apache Ambari and related Apache source artifacts.
"Data is the new currency for enterprises," says Siki Giunta, senior vice president of Cloud at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a Gold member of the new association. "An increasingly connected world produces more data in more places. The challenge for enterprises is first to bring all that data together and second to gain insights that provide a competitive advantage. We need to create standards for the growing ecosystem of cloud platforms and big data management and analytics applications. This common framework will fuel innovation and market growth."
Giunta's sentiment is echoed by GE Software Chief Marketing Officer John Magee, who notes that uniting behind open standards is an essential step to enable GE — a Platinum member of the new association — to help its customers take full advantage of the productivity and efficiency gains made possible by the Industrial Internet.
"GE is uniting with other technology leaders to promote open source-based standards that will help customers better manage and gain insight from their data," Magee says. "The Open Data Platform will foster compatibility and interoperability that will accelerate innovation and adoption of new data-driven solutions."
Test Once, Use Everywhere
Sundeep Madra, vice president and general manager of the Data Product Group at Pivotal, a Platinum member of ODP, explains the organization's initial focus will be a core kernel that members will use to build, package and distribute their offerings.
By doing so, they will simplify upstream and downstream qualification efforts — in other words the kernel will become a "test once, use everywhere" core platform that could eliminate the growing fragmentation in the space. Applications and tools built on the ODP kernel should integrate with and run on any compliant system.
"We really wanted to address the fragmentation of the industry," Madra says. "That's the challenge. Creating this core kernel will really enable acceleration for us."
Collaborating to Serve the Enterprise
The ODP will work directly with specific Apache projects while adhering to the Apache Software Foundation's guidelines for contributions. The members note that ODP will help them collaborate across various Apache projects and other open source-licensed big data projects to meet enterprise-class requirements.
"The best way to accelerate innovation and adoption of platform technologies like Hadoop is through an open source model," says Shaun Connolly, vice president of Corporate Strategy at Hortonworks, a Platinum member of ODP.
"The Open Data Platform initiative will rally both enterprise end users and vendors around a well-defined common core platform against which big data solutions can be qualified. This will free up the broader big data ecosystem to focus on data-driven applications that deliver proactive insights for business," Connolly says.
The initial Platinum members of ODP include GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal and SAS. Initial Gold members include Altiscale, Capgemini, EMC, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and VMware. Pivotal's Madra says he expects membership to grow rapidly.
"Infosys is seeing rapid adoption of open source software in the world's largest enterprises across all major industry segments," says Navin Budhiraja, head of Architecture and Technology at Infosys.
"As all businesses strive to become digital, they see an increasing need for a platform that can support real-time and actionable insights, self-service exploration and fluid data schemas to quickly adapt to the dynamic business needs," Budhiraja says. "This will require them to deploy new web-scale architectures and the adoption of these modern architectures can be greatly accelerated if they are based on open standards and easy access to trained talent. Open Data Platform will create such an ecosystem, preserving the rapid innovation cycles of open source software while still providing the benefits of broad vendor support and interoperability."