SQL tools help boost enterprise Hadoop adoption

The use of Hadoop within the enterprise is showing strong growth as more businesses look to take advantage of big data analytics technology that can leverage the existing skills their IT staff possess, according to a new report from Barclays.

In its 'Big Data Playbook' publication, the financial institution's equity research unit observed investors are paying more attention to technologies that will help companies gain real value from the vast quantities of data they possess, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Until now, many firms have been wary about Hadoop because it represents a significantly different way of operating than what they are familiar with. The report stated that while many programmers are familiar with SQL-based relational databases, many of Hadoop's key components do not use these tools.

Raimo Lenschow, enterprise software analyst at Barclays and author of the report, noted few professionals are comfortable with MapReduce, for example, which facilitates parallel processing of both structured and unstructured data with Hadoop.

However, this situation is changing thanks to offerings such as Hive, which allows SQL-like queries to be run on Hadoop in a language called Hive Query Language. This then compiles into MapReduce and is run just like any other database.

"As the SQL-on-Hadoop technology continues to mature, we believe that switching over will become less and less painful for customers," Mr Lenschow said.

Being able to run SQL within Hadoop environments will offer many benefits to enterprises. As well as the familiar technology meaning they will need to devote fewer resources to teaching their staff new skills, while running SQL on Hadoop makes it easier to port database code from applications to the Hadoop environment. This will in turn reduce the number of code rewrites, boosting the efficiency of a big data analytics operation.

It was noted by the Wall Street Journal that Barclays is not the first financial firm to tip Hadoop for strong growth. Earlier this year, Deutsche Bank said this technology will figure prominently in its 2015 analytics investments, as chief information officers have become "broadly comfortable" with the technology and view it as a playing a key role in their future data architecture.