Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly Supporting Big Data in South Asia

DSA Exclusive Interview with Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly

by Martin Lee - Journalist at Data & Storage Asean

Tom Reilly - CEO at Cloudera

Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly passed through South Asia and DSA were lucky enough to catch a gap in his busy schedule to find out more about Cloudera, their plans and how they view the South Asian market.
With the Big Data field being so new, it may sound like an Oxymoron to describe Tom as Big Data Veteran but if anyone can be described as such he is a good candidate.
Reilly’s path to becoming CEO at Cloudera started in our opinion many years ago. He was CEO at Trigo technologies back in the early 2000s, a middleware technology company that improved business process by collating data and information. Even in the pre-big data era Tom was already involved in technology that generated value and insight from data.
Fast forward to today and Cloudera is nothing but a  Big Data Company, it’s a leader in the Hadoop space and with a successful funding round of $900million back in 2014 valuing the company at the time at $4.1billion, Cloudera is arguably amongst the best positioned  big data companies in the world.
Hadoop is an open source technology so we were interested in understanding from Tom what makes Cloudera different and unique that companies like Intel took an 18% stake in them back in that 2014 funding round.  Tom pointed to aspects such as Cloudera’s pioneering work in developing the Hadoop distribution, in addition to the Sparc project Cloudera is actively driving 24 other major projects in their Hadoop distribution. He also asserted that Cloudera delivers lowest cost of ownership, is the easiest Hadoop distribution to deploy and delivers the fastest processing results. More than this Reilly went to great length to highlight just how secure Cloudera Hadoop is.
Tom discussed the four pillars of security. Perimeter, Access, Visibility and Data which correspond to authentication, authorisation, audit and compliance. He affirmed security is an area where Cloudera do not compromise. Many of Cloudera’s customers are in the finance and telco space where data security it is a highly serious legal requirement. These companies choose to trust Cloudera.
To back up his claim about Cloudera offering the most secure Hadoop he offered up the example of MasterCard. MasterCard insist that any application that handles their card data must meet the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Reilly confirmed that Cloudera meet this standard and that not only are MasterCard a Cloudera customer but also a business partner.

When asked if Hadoop is still a technology in the experimental stages for most companies Tom was very clear. The experimentation phase is over is over and Hadoop is a long way down the road to being mainstream.  According to Reilly Hadoop is one of the fastest growing technologies in the IT space with over 70% of enterprise companies currently implementing or evaluating Hadoop on Big Data Projects.
When is comes to Hadoop and Big Data in ASEAN, Tom is very impressed. In our view he was not paying lip service to the fact that we at DSA are focused on the ASEAN market. We could sense his genuine excitement as he explained on this visit to the region he has met customers engaged in projects as pioneering, challenging and large as any Hadoop based project he has come across in the US or Asia.

We know from our own research at DSA that the depth of Big Data Talent is not as deep in Asia as it is in Europe or the US. However  if Tom is accurate in his assessment of the projects he is seeing over here, then it is a highly encouraging indicator that ASEAN companies can recruit, learn and mobilise the level of expertise to drive Big Data projects and keep pace with the rest of the world.

Based on our discussion with Tom we believe that South East Asia is a true focus area for Cloudera. He sees the potential in this market and we were impressed that he was aware of the Big Data Week events that took place in Malaysia back in April.  He had been fully briefed and stated how he saw the huge turnout as evidence that the region has a genuine appetite to engage in Big Data projects. We felt this is something that Tom will absolutely want Cloudera to play a part in.

Cloudera’s Asia HQ is in Singapore and Tom explained how they are investing in Australia, India, China, Japan and Indonesia.  The Cloudera business is already taking off in the region and he expects that growth to be fuelled by local partnerships with local and global Vars.

Tom also showed that he has some awareness of the nuances of ASEAN market, remarking that Cloudera is not only for the large enterprises,  he is aware there is a huge SMB market in ASEAN and points to the fact that Cloudera can help SMBs leverage Hadoop by utilising their public cloud offerings. Cloudera is already available on AWS and SMBs are already starting to take advantage of this model.

Cloudera is obviously a company to watch, Tom Reilly is a switched on CEO with good product and market domain knowledge. If you want the chance to meet him for yourself, he is currently planning to be back in Singapore for Hadoop World on Dec 2nd.

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