Hortonworks Buys Hadoop Security Startup XA Secure

Vendor looks to boost security capabilities in battle for share of the growing enterprise Hadoop market

Jason Verge

May 19, 2014

2 Min Read
Hortonworks Buys Hadoop Security Startup XA Secure
Hadoop takes its name from the toy elephant that belongs to the son of Doug Cutting, a chief architect at Cloudera and one of the engineering minds behind the open source architecture.

Hortonworks has acquired XA Secure in an Apache Hadoop security play. Hortonworks has one of the top distributions of the popular open source software that turns a group of commodity servers into a powerful parallel-processing compute cluster.

The buyer primarily targets enterprises, which are one of the most security-conscious customer segments. XA offers centralized policy management, fine-grain access control, encryption management and other enterprise-friendly security features.

Hadoop is growing in popularity within the enterprise, but simplicity and security needs to be added to truly open up the market potential. The need for better security was heightened following addition of the YARN resource-management tier in Hadoop 2 last year. YARN allows multiple workloads to run on Hadoop, and customers have requested simple centralized security following its release.

“XA Secure will play an instrumental role in our company’s strategic vision for unlocking the potential of enterprise Hadoop,” said Rob Bearden, CEO of Hortonworks. “This move is consistent with our approach of delivering the enterprise capabilities that Hadoop users expect, completely in open source.”

In keeping with its reputation of commitment to open source software, Hortonworks plans to open-source XA technology later this year but will provide commercial support for it and other Hadoop services.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but XA is a small firm of around 10 people. The company was founded by former Oracle and VeriSign employees in January 2013 and joined Hortonworks’ technology partner program last December.

Hadoop for enterprises is a busy and competitive market. Hortonworks is up against both younger companies that built entire businesses around Hadoop like it did, as well as big established IT vendors who are not letting startups run away with the relatively new growing market. The list of competitors includes MapR, which has made friends with some of the biggest cloud providers, such as Amazon and Google. There are also Cloudera, which recently got a $740 million equity investment from Intel, becoming the processor giant's official Hadoop distribution, and Pivotal, an EMC- , VMware- and GE-owned software company ran by former VMware CEO Paul Maritz.

Hortonworks, a spin-off from Yahoo, which formed the stand-alone company together with Benchmark Capital in 2011, announced a $100 million venture round in March. This is a lot of capital to keep it going, but its competitors have a lot of fire power behind them as well.

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