Despite gains, Hadoop still has big holes to fill

Analysts see the distributed computing system lacking in areas like security and ease-of-use

While the Apache Hadoop distributed data processing platform has made great strides in enterprise businesses, it still needs ease-of-use, security, lifecycle management, and tooling to solidify its status, key industry analysts believe.

Hadoop has to become "part of the IT environment," said Ovum analyst Tony Baer at the Hadoop Summit conference in San Jose, Calif., this week, but it must become easier to use and not be so programmer-centric.

Lifecycle management and data governance and stewardship are not suitably addressed by Hadoop technology at the moment, Baer said. "Do we keep this data on Hadoop forever? Or do we basically deprecate it at some point? There's some industries where you're going to have to get rid of data."

Baer also mentioned security capabilities he believes are needed in Hadoop. Although Hadoop vendor Cloudera acquired Gazzang this week, bringing encryption and key management to Cloudera's distribution of Hadoop, there are other areas, such as role-based access and single sign-on, that need to be addressed.

For many companies, Hadoop already is a first-class citizen in the enterprise, analyst Mike Gualtieri of Forrester, said. The inquiries he receives have morphed from people asking what exactly Hadoop is to how to implement it. "The momentum is there and there's a sweet spot in every enterprise for Hadoop, but the ecosystem has to grow up a lot more," he said, noting the need for tools to manage both traditional data systems and Hadoop. For its part, Microsoft boosted Hadoop this week, offering up faster querying technology to the Hadoop Hive and Stinger subprojects.

Business executives will be more inclined to use technologies like Hadoop if they believe they are being passed up by rivals using data to the extent that they can, said Jeff Kelly, big data analyst at Wikibon. "Fear can be quite a motivator."

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