Seven Thoughts on Hadoop’s Seventh Birthday

Editor's note: It has only been seven years since Hadoop's first release, and think of the amazing things it has already empowered us to accomplish. Doug Cutting (Hadoop's founder, Apache Software Foundation chair and Cloudera's chief architect) published seven thoughts on Hadoop's seventh birthday at the Cloudera blog, and we sought his permission to repost those here. 

Seven Thoughts on Hadoop's Seventh Birthday:

  1. Open-source accelerates adoption.If Hadoop had been created as proprietary software it would not have spread as rapidly. We’ve seen incredible growth in the use of Hadoop. Partly that’s because it’s useful. But many would have been cautious to make a vendor-controlled platform part of their infrastructure, useful or not.
  2.  Apache builds collaborative communities.The Hadoop ecosystem has hundreds of developers working for tens of organizations. Competitors productively collaborate on a daily basis, improving the software we all share. The Apache Software Foundation gives us the methodology that enables this. (Thanks, Apache!)
  3. The timing is right.Folks flock to Hadoop not just because it is open-source and works, but also because it fills a need. Moore’s law provides us with a bounty of affordable hardware. This has led to computing devices spreading through our world. Cars and tractors have computers. Phones, and cash registers and more have become computers. Data flows through each of these. Hadoop gives us tools to save and analyze more of this data, improving our understanding of the world.
  4. Random names are good names.When we started out, I had no idea what Hadoop would become, so I proposed a name for it that didn’t have any connotation. The project has grown, giving that name meaning. Not everyone may pronounce the word “Hadoop” the same, but we all know what it is. A whimsical name also helps remind us to have fun.
  5. People love a story.People love to hear me tell the story of my son’s toy elephant. They love to see that toy. The story has become the mythological prehistory of Hadoop. I guess every movement needs its origin story!
  6. Hadoop is a phase transition in computing.Hadoop’s developers did not invent distributed computing, nor is Hadoop its most advanced form, but Hadoop has brought distributed computing to the mainstream. Hadoop gets thousands of unreliable computers to work together reliably. As the number of computers grows, we no longer think about them individually but instead as parts of a whole. This is a fundamentally different way of using computers that’s rapidly becoming commonplace.
  7. The sky’s the limit.Hadoop was originally created to help build search engines. It’s still used for that, but its uses have grown far beyond that. Its core features have advanced tremendously, but even more dramatic is the range of systems being built on top of Hadoop. From machine learning to real-time queries, Hadoop is becoming a great platform for nearly any task folks imagine involving large amounts of data. The trends that gave rise to Hadoop continue, and Hadoop is evolving and growing to meet new challenges. We are still in the early days of this revolution.

Here’s to the next seven years!



Doug (@cutting) is the creator of numerous successful open source projects, including Lucene, Nutch and Hadoop. Doug joined Cloudera in 2009 from Yahoo!, where he was a key member of the team that built and deployed a production Hadoop storage and analysis cluster for mission-critical business analytics. Doug holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and sits on the Board (and is currently chairman) of the Apache Software Foundation.