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Yahoo Spins Out Hadoop Startup

A core development group at Yahoo is being given venture capital backing and will be spun off to further the rapid enterprise-style development of Hadoop. Within a few days, "something over 20" core committers and architects of Hadoop code will move off the Yahoo campus in Sunnyvale, Calif., into offices nearby to form Hortonworks, an independent company, said Eric Baldeschweiler, Yahoo's VP of software engineering for Hadoop, in an interview. He will become CEO of the new firm.

The name Hortonworks springs from a Dr. Seuss children's book about an elephant, Horton. Hadoop was originally named by its co-originator, Dave Cutting, for one of his children's stuffed elephant toys.

The move to create a self-sufficient company devoted to Hadoop commercialization comes on the heels of a LexisNexis announcement last week that its High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) big-data system will be publicly available as an open source project. HPCC is a future competitor of Hadoop in the big-data handling arena, its spokesmen said.

Jay Rossiter, senior VP of the cloud platform group at Yahoo, said Hortonworks not only has Yahoo's blessing but Yahoo is an investor in it, along with Benchmark Capital. The number of developers leaving Yahoo is a fraction of the total working on Hadoop. The two groups will "co-develop the next Hadoop release together," Rossiter said in an interview.

Rob Bearden, a partner at Benchmark, will become COO of Hortonworks. He is the former president of SpringSource, the firm behind the Spring Framework for Java developers, acquired in 2009 by VMware for $420 million. He is also the former COO of JBoss, the open source Java application server that was sold to Red Hat. He is the current chairman of Pentaho, an open source business intelligence system supplier.

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