by Thor Olavsrud

Hortonworks Buys Big Data Security Specialist, Will Donate IP to Apache

May 15, 20143 mins
Big DataIntellectual PropertyLegal

In an effort to provide a single-pane-of-glass view of data security, authorization, auditing and overall governance for Hadoop, Hortonworks has acquired big data security specialist XA Secure. The vendor says it plans to donate XA Secure's intellectual property to the open source community.

As more organizations put big data applications into production, questions about enterprise requirements such as security in Hadoop are taken on ever greater importance. Hortonworks, the vendor behind the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) distribution of Hadoop, moved to answer those questions today with the acquisition of data security specialist XA Secure.

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Hortonworks plans to begin integrating XA Secure’s technology with HDP immediately and support for the technology will be offered through its Enterprise Plus subscription, according to the company. And true to Hortonworks’ commitment to 100 percent open source Hadoop, the company will donate XA Secure’s intellectual property to the open source community in the second half of the year, says Tim Hall, vice president of product management for Hortonworks.

[Related: Hortonworks Adds New Enterprise Features to Hadoop Distribution]

“Our commitment in the Hadoop space is around 100 percent open source,” Hall says. “We will be donating the IP to the Apache Software Foundation as part of our commitment to remain true to that.”

Hadoop Security Tech Will Be Incubated as Open Source Apache Project

Hall says XA Secure’s IP will be incubated as an Apache project to integrate central administration of security with the entire Hadoop ecosystem of Apache projects. Hall says Hortonworks also says it plans to develop an SDK that will allow peer components to integrate with the XA Secure technology.

XA Secure, already a Hortonworks partner (also a MapR advantage partner and certified on Cloudera 5), was founded in 2012 to provide an enterprise-ready, cross-platform security layer built from the ground up for Hadoop. It provides centralized capabilities around data security, authorization, auditing and overall governance, creating a single-pane-of-glass view for security administrators.

[Related: Red Hat and Hortonworks Expand Strategic Big Data Alliance]

That single pane of glass is becoming a requirement as the data infrastructure within enterprises gets turned on its head by big data infrastructure. In the past, when different business functions ran in silos — PeopleSoft for HR, SAP for ERP, Oracle for the enterprise database, etc. — it was relatively easy to run well-developed security controls on each application.

Big data applications change all that. In a Hadoop world, all those old data silos coexist within the same database or file system, meaning traditional access controls can no longer manage the situation. Managing roles and creating audit reports on who has used what data sets becomes a big issue.

[Related: Hortonworks Brings Hadoop 2.0 to Windows]

XA Secure was founded by veterans of companies such as Oracle and Verisign to address that problem. Through the acquisition, which closed Tuesday, Hall says Hortonworks will now be able to deliver a comprehensive, centralized approach to security administration that ensures consistent policy enforcement and audit for compliance across all workloads.

“The teams at Hortonworks and XA Secure saw the unique market opportunity to build the right set of security intelligence and management capabilities into the fabric of the Hortonworks Data Platform,” says Balaji Ganesan, founder and CEO of XA Secure. “We are thrilled to be joining Hortonworks to further execute our joint vision and lead the community-based initiative to provide enterprise-grade security within Hadoop as only an open community can.”

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Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.