Open Data Platform

Published: March 16th, 2015

When big names including GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Splunk, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Teradata, and VMware announce a new alliance to create and push for big data technology using open source, it’s hard to ignore.

Dubbed the “Open Data Platform” (ODP), the association will do this by creating readily-adoptable solutions for anyone, association member or otherwise to use, which, according to the organization, will set it apart from existing big data alliances.

“Existing big data partnerships they seem a lot more focused on sales and consulting services while we’re focused on technology adoption,” said Lucas Budman, CTO of CenturyLink Cognilytics, one of the member companies. “Instead of just trying to sell big data technology, we’re working on standardizing products and focusing on giving back to that open source initiative.”

To accomplish this, the association will work on standardizing the various Apache Hadoop and Ambari distributions out there, which it has identified as the most in-demand and likely open source candidates, and create tested solutions that are guaranteed to work in different environments.

According to CenturyLink, it has also chosen open source not only for easier collaboration between the partner companies, but also for its flexibility.

“There is no exclusivity,” said David Shacochis, vice president of cloud platform at CenturyLink. “We want an entire industry to participate in this technology.”

While the association has not outlined specific solutions yet – the group was only announced in February – it has programmers from the different companies contributing code to a Cloud Foundry database and the Apache Foundation.

It has envisioned three stages of operations for the near future, the first being the standardized releases of Apache Ambari and Hadoop.  Secondly, companies like CenturyLink will build the capabilities into the cloud ecosystem.  Third, companies will start building solutions to take advantage of the platform.  CenturyLink said that the first two milestones would happen “in the next quarter.”

“Over the last couple of years, we’re really seeing major adoption of Hadoop in the experimental phase,” said Budsman.  “But now Hadoop is really moving up the stream and into meaningful workloads, especially in predictive analytics and this standardization and alliance really allows us to prioritize some of our big data analytics solutions.