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'Grid computing Red Hat' lands elephant on VMware cloud

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Cloudera - the star-studded Silicon Valley startup that commercialized the epic number crunching of the open source Hadoop project - is now offering a version of its stuffed elephant distro for use on VMWare's imminent vCloud.

Inspired by research papers describing Google’s proprietary software infrastructure, Hadoop is a means of crunching epic amounts of data across a network of distributed machines. And it's named for the yellow stuffed elephant that belonged to the son of its founder, Doug Cutting, who joins Cloudera this week after a stint at Yahoo!

Cloudera has already tweaked its distro for use on Amazon's on-demand infrastructure service, the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and now the company has cooked up management scripts for deploying a Hadoop cluster on vCloud, the infrastructure cloud setup that VMWare announced in September.

"What we've changed are the management scripts around the core Hadoop platform so that they allow you to very easily start up a Hadoop cluster within the vCloud environment," says Amr Awadallah, Cloudera's chief technical officer. "It's very similar to the management scripts we offer for Amazon EC2."

No, you can't actually use the vCloud at the moment. Third-party hosting providers are set to offer sky-high compute resources based on VMware's setup sometime in the first quarter. But VMware has already released the vCloud API, and this is what Cloudera has coded to. The startup is running demonstrations of its vCloud-friendly distro this week at VMworld in San Francisco.

To be clear: Cloudera is not offering a Hadoop service on Amazon EC2 or the VMware cloud. It's offering a distro you (the user) can setup on these public infrastructure clouds - or inside your own data center. And since you can use the vCloud design to setup your own private infrastructure cloud, Cloudera's new management scripts may prove useful even if you don't go the public cloud route.

And in Red Hat-like fashion, Cloudera provides support as well.

If it's a ready-made Hadoop web service you're looking for, you can get that from Amazon itself. Amazon Elastic MapReduce sits Hadoop atop EC2 and the company's simple storage service (S3). But Cloudera will tell you that when run on EC2, its distro out-Amazons Amazon. ®

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