Red Hat's Big Data Push: All Hat, No Cattle

Big Data is, well, big these days. (Maybe too big for its own good.) So it should surprise exactly no one that Red Hat, itself a big open-source enterprise software and services company, wants to wear the Big Data hat, too. Which is exactly what it announced in an hour-long Webcast on Wednesday.

So, terrific. Red Hat is now a Big Data company – at least, that is, if you believe Red Hat. What does that mean, exactly? Surprisingly little.

Let's put it this way: Red Hat's big news was that it is open-sourcing its storage plug-in for Hadoop, a popular open-source software framework that supports both distributed data and distributed applications. (Simpler explanation: Hadoop makes it possible to run data-intensive applications physically near the data itself, which greatly speeds things up because it's no longer necessary to shuttle great piles of data across a network.)

As a step toward transforming Red Hat's own storage file system into a "fully-supported, Hadoop-compatible file system for big data environments," as the company puts it, this is doubtless noteworthy. As something concrete on which enterprise customers can, uh, hang their hat, it leaves a lot to be filled in later.

That wouldn't be a problem if Red Hat had provided other noteworthy details, such as a road map for its development of what it calls an "open hybrid cloud." It's a nifty enough idea, essentially amounting to a data environment that would help business move their applications from in-house servers to those offered by cloud providers such as Amazon's Web Services unit without having to rewrite them.

But while Ranga Rangachari, Red Hat's vice president of storage, talked up the open hybrid cloud and the "robust network" of partners Red Hat plans to work with to make it a reality, he had nothing to say about time frames or even the identities of its partners. "Just stay tuned as we come up with more definite dates and times and start – we'll absolutely make those partners available," Rangachari pleaded at the end of the event.

Maybe Red Hat is saving the details for the next roundup.

(See also Big Data: Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst Looks 20 Years Into The Future)

 

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