Cloudera Raises $5 Million Series A Round For Hadoop Commercialization

Cloudera is definitely a startup that will have many eyes fixed on it in the future. Backed by an impressive list of investors and advisors and run by a team of experienced technology veterans, it’s doing interesting things with equally interesting open-source software. The company is today announcing the general availability of its flagship product, Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop, in conjunction with a $5 million capital injection led by Accel Partners, where one of the founders was Entrepreneur in Residence.

Cloudera is pushing a commercial distribution for Hadoop, a free Java software framework born out of an open-source implementation of Google’s published computing infrastructure and fostered within the Apache Software Foundation. Hadoop supports distributed applications running on large clusters of commodity computers processing enormous amounts of data, technology that’s being put to use by Internet juggernauts like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon, AOL, Baidu, The NY Times, Joost and many more.

Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop is distributed as a pre-packaged RPM bundle for Red Hat Linux systems or an Amazon EC2 image, for free under the Apache 2 software license. The startup is launching the portal today where people can use a Web-based configuration tool to create custom packages that are optimized to their specific needs.

There are some big names involved with Cloudera. The founding team at Cloudera includes Mike Olson (former VP at Oracle and prior to that CEO at open source database pioneer Sleepycat Software), Christophe Bisciglia (created and led Google’s Academic Cloud Computing Initiative), Dr. Amr Awadallah (co-founder of VivaSmart, acquired by Yahoo!) and Jeff Hammerbacher (key member of the data team at Facebook).

Investors in and advisors to Cloudera include Diane Greene (formerly CEO VMware), Mike Abbott (senior VP, Palm), Caterina Fake (co-founder, Flickr), Dr. Qi Lu (president of the Online Services Group, Microsoft; former executive vice president, Yahoo!), Marten Mickos (former CEO, MySQL), Jeff Weiner (president, LinkedIn; former senior vice president, Yahoo!), Gideon Yu (Facebook CFO; former CFO at YouTube).

The NY Times broke the news on Cloudera’s launch, and offers some interesting tidbits on the side, like the fact that Google CEO Eric Schmidt himself gave the startup its blessing even though the company could make reasonable claims to IP ownership, and more information about Hadoop’s underlying technology.