Gartner Research

What Matters When Comparing Hadoop Distributions

Published: 10 October 2014

ID: G00264263

Analyst(s): Svetlana Sicular


Hadoop is turning from an intriguing possibility into a fundamental technology. This research explains what a typical Hadoop stack looks like and how the leading Hadoop distributions approach it. Enterprises should select a Hadoop distribution based on their needs, not on vendor marketing messages.

Table Of Contents


  • What Is Hadoop?
    • Apache Hadoop
    • Hadoop Community
    • Hadoop Ecosystem
    • How to Understand Hadoop Functional Components and Alternatives
    • Hadoop 2 Adds New Capabilities and New Complexity to Its Ecosystem
  • What Is a Hadoop Distribution?
  • How to Understand and Differentiate Hadoop Distributions
    • The Structure of a Hadoop Distribution
    • Distribution Vendor Partnerships
    • Open-Source and Proprietary Components
    • Implementing Hadoop on Your Own Is Lots of Work With Little Benefit
    • Futures of Hadoop Distributions
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Hadoop Distributions Will Mature in Two to Five Years
  • How to Select a Hadoop Distribution
    • Partner Relationships Are the Key Selection Criteria
    • Vendor Industry or Sector Experience Matters
    • Support Availability Matters
    • Functional Requirements Should Not Dominate Your Selection Criteria
  • Avoid Common Misconceptions
    • Vendor Lock-In Is an Ungrounded Concern
    • Hadoop Does Not Completely Replace an EDW
    • Do Not Rely on Standard Benchmarks; Do Your Own Testing
    • Data Lakes Are Not a Master Data Management or a Data Integration Solution

The Details

  • Seven Frameworks of the Hadoop-Based Stack
    • Data Management Frameworks
    • Processing Frameworks
    • Development Frameworks
    • Integration Frameworks
    • Modeling Frameworks
    • Operational Frameworks
    • Analytics Frameworks
  • The Leading Hadoop Distribution Vendors
    • Cloudera
    • Hortonworks
    • MapR
    • IBM
    • Pivotal
  • Other Hadoop Distributions
  • How to Start

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