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Hortonworks licks lips, sets sights on snaring fresh SI partners

HP, Dell, Accenture and Cap Gemini in crosshairs

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Hortonworks' SAP reseller agreement is the prelude to a series of big deals with OEMs and SIs in coming months, the company has promised.

The SAP agreement, announced on Thursday, will see the business software giant resell Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP). The platform includes Hadoop core, operational and data services.

SAP expects to sell Hadoop to customers in injunction with its HANA in-memory database, which it’s turning into a foundational element of its core ERP suite.

SAP is the latest to join the growing roster of Hortonworks’ partners. Among them are Microsoft, Teradata and Rackspace.

Hortonworks, though, told The Register it's also been in talks with PC and server makers Dell and Hewlett-Packard, as well as other major systems integrators, about potential partnerships

Dell and HP would serve a similar role to SAP – as a distribution channel for Hortonworks’ flavor of the Hadoop big-data muncher.

"We have talked to them," president Herb Cunitz told The Reg, referring to HP and Dell. "We have had conversations with them."

He did not reveal details.

Asked whether Hortonworks is in talks with large system integrators (SIs) Accenture and Cap Gemini among others, Cunitz said Hortonworks is “talking to every large SI.”

The company hopes for agreements to be signed in the next six months.

Hortonworks currently works with the big SIs on an ad hoc-basis – that is, if and when a customer of one of the big SIs happens to start using the company’s Hadoop stack. It has actual partnerships with a string of boutique providers, including Impetus and Think Big Analytics. Cunitz reckoned the top-tier SIs want to see Hadoop go more mainstream and have more customer uptake before committing.

SIs are important, because they’d do the footwork of consulting and integrating around HDP, meaning Hortonworks wouldn’t need to hire and employ its own services staff – an expensive proposition.

“We do not want to become a large services company,” Cunitz – an VMware’s ex-vice-president of global field operations - told The Reg. “We are an enterprise software company doing our work with open source. We deliver services to help customers to get started, but that will be a minority of our business, not the majority.”

Hortonworks has 250 employees, up from 50 when Cunitz joined in October 2012. He was brought in to expand Hortonworks' sales, marketing and support from the engineering base the company had – it was spun out from the Yahoo! engineering team who’d helped build Hortonworks in 2010 by venture capitalist Rob Bearden.

When it comes to the PC makers, The Reg reckons readers should expect Dell and HP to adopt slightly different approaches to providing Hadoop. Each company's model would, in our opinion, be how they’ve made servers available to large-scale operations in financial services and utilities that process large volumes of data.

Dell has a track record of issuing blueprints when it’s come to cloud services built using its servers, storage, networking equipment and software. In contrast, HP prefers delivering an all-in server bundle to the customer.

Cunitz foresees a point where the hardware makers would engineer their systems to take full advantage of the Hadoop code running on their servers, as did partner Teradata that signed up as a Hortonworks reseller in June this year.

The data warehousing and analytics giant has also added an InfiniBand connection to its systems to transfer data between Hadoop systems and its warehouse, to speed transfer of data and improve the performance of workloads. ®

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