Analyst house Forrester now says enterprise adoption of Hadoop is "mandatory", so any business that wants to derive value from its data should, at the very least, be looking at the technology.
So, what is Hadoop? The open-source Apache Software Foundation describes Hadoop as "a distributed computing platform" or "a framework that allows for the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using simple programming models."
According to the foundation: "Rather than rely on hardware to deliver high-availability, the library itself is designed to detect and handle failures at the application layer, so delivering a highly-available service on top of a cluster of computers, each of which may be prone to failures."
The advantages - speed, reliability, lower costs - are appealing to the enterprise, and businesses are starting to deploy the technology at various scales.
Here are a selection of case studies from businesses deploying Hadoop at the enterprise scale, from big banks to airlines and retailers.
1. Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been working with Silicon Valley company Trifacta to get its Hadoop data lake in order, so it can gain insight from the chat conversations its customers are having with the bank online.
RBS stores approximately 250,000 chat logs plus associated metadata per month. The bank stores this unstructured data in Hadoop. However, before turning to Trifacta this was a huge and untapped source of information about its user base
Creative Commons, photo: Vieamusante
The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is one of the largest and most powerful machines in the world. It is equipped with around 150 million sensors, producing a petabyte of data every second, and the data being delivered is growing all the time.
CERN researcher Manuel Martin Marquez said: "This data has been scaling in terms of amount and complexity, and the role we have is to serve to these scaleable requirements, so we run a Hadoop cluster."
"From a simplistic manner we run particles through machines and make them collide, and then we store and analyse that data."
"By using Hadoop we limit the cost in hardware and complexity in maintenance."
3. Royal Mail
British postal service company Royal Mail has used Hadoop to get the "building blocks in place" for its big data strategy.
Director of the Technology Data Group at Royal Mail, Thomas Lee-Warren, told Computerworld UK that its Hadoop investment is the foundation of a drive to gain more value from internal data. "We have a lot of data," Lee-Warren explained. "We are about to go up to running in the region of a hundred terabytes, across nine nodes."
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