Intel Teams with Cloudera on Hadoop for Big Data

The chip maker will discontinue development of its own Hadoop distribution, and make a sizeable investment in Cloudera.

Intel will partner with Cloudera to develop a Hadoop-based big data platform that will leverage Cloudera's software capabilities and Intel's hardware expertise.

The move also means that Intel will shut down its own Hadoop distribution, which the chip maker released a year ago as a way of extending the reach of its software business and an avenue for selling more of its silicon into systems.

In addition, Intel also is making what officials called "a significant equity investment" in Cloudera that will make the chip maker Cloudera's largest strategic shareholder and give it a seat on the software maker's board of directors. Neither company would say how much Intel Capital—the chip vendor's investment arm—is making in Cloudera, though Website VentureBeat cited an anonymous source as saying it could be more than $90 million.

However much it is, Intel officials said it represents the company's largest data center technology investment in its history. The announcement comes a week after Cloudera unveiled a round of $160 million in investments led by T. Rowe price, Google Ventures and MSD Capital, Michael Dell's investment firm.

The deal could prove a boon for both vendors. Intel will immediately be able to expand its capabilities in big data by leveraging Cloudera's more established Hadoop distribution and big data chops, while the software maker will be able to take advantage of Intel's massive technological and sales resources to grow its reach in the market. Intel's x86-based Xeon chips can be found in more than 90 percent of servers.

For customers, the partnership will bring together Intel's significant hardware capabilities and Cloudera's big data software products "to build a world-class, enterprise-ready platform that everybody can build their big data solutions from," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a videotaped statement.

Right now much of the big data work is being done by larger organizations, according to the companies. A key goal of the deal is to help grow the adoption of big data solutions by companies of all sizes.

"By aligning the Cloudera and Intel roadmaps, we are creating the platform of choice for big data analytics," Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, said in a statement, noting that the partnership will touch on every part of Intel's data center portfolio, from computers and networks to security, storage and the Internet of things (IoT). "We expect to accelerate industry adoption of the Hadoop data platform and enable companies to mine their data for insights that inform the business."

As part of the deal, Cloudera will optimize its Hadoop platform for Intel's architecture—using the architecture as its preferred platform—and support upcoming technologies from the chip maker, including fabrics, flash memory and security. Intel will help promote and sell Cloudera's big data software and its Cloudera Enterprise as the chip maker's preferred Hadoop platform. Intel also will throw engineering and marketing resources behind the effort.