Big data intentionally creates a concentration of data and has a corrupting influence. It really concentrates the power in the hands of whoever holds that data — governments, companies. The PC revolution of the late 1970s and 1980s and the later early Internet (of the 1990s) seemed to hold so much promise and empowered the individual. Now with big data there is a shift of power in the other direction as it concentrates power in fewer hands.

Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP

Why Hadoop’s time has come and gone

My former colleague, Derrick Harris, wrote more about Hadoop than any other reporter, and today, he wrote a wonderful obituary of Hadoop. He goes step by step, through what has made Hadoop quite irrelevant.

Hadoop’s path to ubiquity intersected a host of other technology shifts that as a whole would prove to be more impactful in the long run, in part by peeling off the most valuable promises of big data and making them more consumable…..The story of Hadoop can help us understand why the world of data looks how it does today. It also should be a valuable lesson for anybody trying to make sense of the next big thing in enterprise IT, and the next one after that…….Hadoop opened people’s eyes to what was possible with big data, but it’s also a reminder that no single technology is going to remake the world of enterprise IT— at least not anymore.

Way back in 2008, when writing GigaOm, I hosted a meet-up for Hadoop enthusiasts, inspired by what I had seen Google and Yahoo do with data. The age of large data sets was ascendant, and it made perfect sense for a distributed file-system called Hadoop to emerge. However, the world changed too fast. The emergence of smartphones, the growing dominance of cloud and other meta-changes in the technology landscape radically redefined what data could do. And just as quickly as it became hot, Hadoop found itself on the outs, with its logo, The Elephant, ironically telling the story of its lumbering legacy.

Hadoop’s rise and irrelevance is the new reality of our cloud-centric world. It is also a reminder that new technology emerges and spread at lightning-fast speed, only to become irrelevant or eventually be subsumed by larger players. What is hot today, is a stock market detritus a decade later. In many ways, Cloudera is a perfect proxy for Hadoop, and what has gone wrong with the Hadoop ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Wall Street shark Carl Icahn is hot and heavy for Cloudera. The company, which recently got rid of its chief executive, and lost one of its co-founders, is now a Wall Street piñata. The stock which in March 2017 was around $22 a share hit an all-time low of approximately $5 a share, though it has since rebounded to about $7 a share. I am all eyes and ears to see how Icahn will make the elephant dance.

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