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Data Sheet—Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015, 1:41 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Pivotal and Hortonworks think businesses need Hadoop standards before they’ll spend more on the big data management technology. Competitor Cloudera isn’t convinced. Plus, Snapchat is raising more financing. Way more.

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Hadoop, already one of the most successful open source software projects around, just got even more open. Maybe.

More than a dozen big data companies involved with the data management platform—notably Pivotal, IBM, and Hortonworks—pledged to work together toward a common set of standards. The goal of the aptly dubbed Open Data Platform Initiative: accelerate corporate adoption by making certain components common.

“The current ecosystem is challenged and slowed by fragmented and duplicate efforts,” declares the organization on its rather rudimentary website.

As if to prove the point, Pivotal (the EMC-VMware spinout company) is turning three of its most important products over to the open source community. That’s a pretty gutsy move when you consider that for 2014, the company reported bookings of more than $100 million, with many of those sales tied to those products.

When we chatted about the strategy, Pivotal vice president Sunny Madra said the move was inspired by Pivotal’s success with Cloud Foundry service, which generated approximately $40 million in subscriptions last year.

“Many businesses are really looking for [open source] as an RFP requirement,” he said. “They don’t want to be locked in.”

Incidentally, you’ll notice Cloudera—which makes the most widely adopted Hadoop distribution around—isn’t on the list of initial Open Data members. Apparently, the company has been invited. I’ll ask Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly for more feedback when I speak with him this week.


Double the money? Snapchat is working on a $500 million financing round that could push its valuation up to $19 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. That’s almost twice the $10 billion valuation reported at the end of 2014, and double the money it raised last year. And that makes it the third largest unicorn right now, after ride-sharing company Uber and smartphone maker Xiaomi.

Now searching for safe bets in India. Google Capital is planning its first international expansion. It is already tied to the country through its investment in customer support software developer Freshdesk, which has operations in Chennai.

Winding up to make your wrist smarter. Reports estimate the initial production run for Apple Watch (due April-ish) at up to 6 million.

Another case involving a case. BlackBerry just sued iPhone accessory maker Typo (again) over its keyboard design. Last time, it won $860,000.

Secondhand smartphones sizzle. Sure, close to 60% of sales in Germany and the United States are upgrades to bigger, better, faster. But the market for refurbished gadgets could reach 120 million worldwide by 2017, more than double last year’s figure.

Bitcoin bust. The number of merchants accepting the virtual currency as payment is now around 100,000. Alas, very few buyers are actually using it for transactions.


Can we be honest? Not only do employee sentiment surveys have notoriously low completion rates, they usually aren’t run frequently enough to identify meaningful trends.

A startup called Glint, emerging from stealth today with a $9 million round of Series B funding, hopes to rewrite those rules. Its software is already used by several dozen companies, including Marketo and FICO, to gather feedback through “pulse” polls that include just a few questions. The results are analyzed in real time, so they can be shared far more quickly. “It lets you get data into the hands of people who can make long-term changes,” said Glint CEO and co-founder Jim Barnett.

Quite a climb. South Africa-born K2, which started life 14 years ago as a software vendor specializing in Microsoft technologies, has accepted a $100 million-plus “strategic investment” from Francisco Partners. These days, K2 helps 1,400 businesses including as Shell, Kimberly Clark, and (not surprising) Microsoft manage custom software portfolios. It has more than 1.5 million users.

Here a tweak, there a tweak. Speaking of custom software, at least half of the companies surveyed by Appian (a business process management specialist) still prefer them to those they can buy off the shelf. (Registration required to peek at the results.) That's especially true of financial services firms and manufacturers.

Want an example of why you care? Look no further than General Motors. It employs a staff of 8,000 software engineers (up from 1,400 after firing HP two years ago). Oh, and don't forget the Orion big data system at UPS, also developed internally.

Another positive signal. Message Systems, led by the CEO who took WebMethods public back in 2000, has raised $27 million from Hercules Technology Growth Capital, LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital. The new round brings total funding to $65 million, plus the company also scored an additional $8 million in working capital. Message Systems delivers more than 3 trillion emails annually for companies including LinkedIn, Facebook, Groupon, Oracle and Now, it’s building a public cloud email service meant for smaller companies.

Security for big data projects and platforms is a “thing” at this week’s Strata + Hadoop conference in San Jose, California. BlueTalon is one startup with an access control story; it just raised $5 million in follow-on funding.


No kids allowed at the World Toy Fair by Melissa Lock

This is how much it costs to have Starbucks delivered to your doorstep by Ben Geier

Apple watch reportedly had a problem with hairy wrists by Time

A female computer science major at Stanford: “Floored” by the sexism by Lea Coligado

How Adobe kickstarts innovation from its employees by Anne Fisher



Ever flown a drone? Me neither. Live vicariously.


IBM Interconnect: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26; Las Vegas)

Gartner CIO Leadership Forum: Digital business strategy. (March 1 – 3; Phoenix)

Microsoft Convergence: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19; Atlanta)

IDC Directions 2015: Innovation in the 3rd Platform era. (March 18; Boston)

Cisco Leadership Council: CIO-CEO thought leadership. (March 18 - 20; Kiawah Island, South Carolina)

Technomy Bio: The big picture on transformation. (March 25; Mountain View, California)

Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit: Crossing the divide. (March 30 – April 1; Las Vegas)

Knowledge15: Automate IT services. (April 19 – 24; Las Vegas)

RSA Conference: The world talks security. (April 20 – 24; San Francisco)

Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 - 28; Orlando, Fla.)

MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)

EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 - 7; Las Vegas)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7; Orlando, Florida)

Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)

Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 - 20; Boston)

HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 - 4; Las Vegas)

Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 - 15; Aspen, Colorado)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 - 18; San Francisco)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 - 8; Orlando, Florida)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 - 29; San Francisco)