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Turns out Hewlett-Packard means business when it comes to big data, not just cloud computing.

Today, the legacy tech giant announced that it has dumped $50 million into Hortonworks, a leading distributor of Hadoop open-source software for storing, processing, and analyzing lots of different kinds of data.

The investment builds on the existing strategic partnership between HP and Hortonworks, which includes the reselling agreement the companies announced last year. Now HP customers can run Hortonworks’ Hadoop distribution as part of HP’s HAVEN software, and the companies are bringing together their engineering plans. The idea is to certify HP Vertica software as ready to work with the critical YARN component of Hadoop.

And the new funding comes following Hortonworks’ $100 million funding round from March.

Not that the new investment puts Hortonworks ahead — from a funding perspective — of arch rival Cloudera, which in March announced a $900 million funding round that included $740 million from chip giant Intel. Big data people perceive Cloudera at the forefront of the Hadoop market, while Hortonworks and freshly funded MapR are hustling hard, even as Cloudera looks up the stack at vendors like IBM and Oracle.

HP has been striving to strengthen its appeal in cloud computing, especially when it comes to selling OpenStack. But in the cloud infrastructure market, HP trails behind Amazon Web Services and others. So HP could stand to advance its position in the growing big data business.

HP already has announced partnerships with Cloudera and MapR in the past. But this marks HP’s first actual investment in a Hadoop vendor. That’s significant.

As part of the deal, HP chief technology officer and cloud business chief Martin Fink chief joins Hortonworks’ board.

To date Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hortonworks has raised at least $275 million. Today 450 people work for the company, a spokesman told VentureBeat in an email.

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