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SAN FRANCISCO — Hortonworks, which is trying to make the Hadoop open-source big data software safer for the enterprise, plans to use its acquisition of XA Secure to beef up its security.

Arun Murthy, the cofounder of Hortonworks, said at VentureBeat’s DataBeat conference that better security will help Hadoop, an open-source set of database tools, become a “foundational technology in the enterprise.”

Hortonworks plans to introduce XA Secure’s software — a simple interface for determining who has access to what data and what they can do to it — to the Apache Software Foundation, where it could be available free under an open-source license. The addition of the security tech could make big data projects more common in the enterprise.

“What has happened in the last few years is that the wider enterprise has realized there is a way to build a culture around data,” Murthy said.

It started with Hadoop for data storage, and additional pieces have formed around it.

“Now it fits in the entire architecture of the enterprise,” he said.

Hadoop can process and analyze a bunch of data using commodity storage and open-source software, and it scales well. It gets the job done in hours, not days. That means you can use it for things like helping stores change their prices on items every six hours, rather than every few days. And the stores can use data from a lot more sources, rather than just smaller data sets, before making big pricing changes.

But it isn’t as trusted in the enterprise as more tested tech like data warehouses. So companies that sell Hadoop distributions have to make the software more secure, adding features for auditing, encryption, and authentication.

Hortonworks has enriched Hadoop with features like SSL encryption for certain parts of the software, for instance. But after YARN — a resource manager for scheduling jobs across servers for Hadoop tools like the Hive SQL-like query engine for asking questions of data and the Pig software for writing high-level scripts for data transformation — shipped as a key element of the Hadoop 2 software last year, Hortonworks customers started asking about simple security administration.

Now, Murthy said, banks and insurance companies are adopting Hadoop, and they want it to be secure.


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