Just as Red Hat built a business packaging and supporting Linux software, Cloudera is commercializing another key open-source technology: Hadoop.
By 2004, Google was ingesting the entire Internet every week or two -- and struggling to analyze all that data. The site's engineers created a technology called MapReduce to break up giant data sets into distributed chunks, and published several reports on their approach.
Software consultant Doug Cutting used that information to create Hadoop (named for his son's stuffed elephant). An open-source project managed by the Apache Software Foundation, Hadoop is now used for data processing and analysis by many of the Web's biggest sites, including Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter.
Cutting linked up with a dream team of engineers to launch Cloudera, including Jeff Hammerbacher, the former head of head of Facebook's data team. Cloudera packages Hadoop with other programs and offers consulting services for clients looking to harness the software's massive power.
"The opportunity for this is enormous," says Cloudera CEO Mike Olson, a former Oracle executive. "There is so much data out there in the world now, and people don't know how to manage it. But it's rich with detail if you know how to use it."
With an office full of industry veterans rave reviews so far, the company's future looks bright. In May, Thomson Reuters' Venture Capital Journal named Cloudera the No. 1 most promising startup founded in 2009.