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Selecting Hadoop Server Hardware For Big Data Workloads

by Chris Gaun  |  March 11, 2013  |  1 Comment

IT organizations can deploy a Hadoop cluster by buying an appliance, going to IaaS/PaaS public clouds, or building the solution themselves. Many major enterprise hardware vendors offer Big Data Hadoop appliances, as shown in the table below (Merv Adrian has more detail on the systems. Adrian, Arun Chandrasekaran, Svetlana Sicular and Marcus Collins are my go-to analyst for Big Data Hadoop questions):

Vendor Appliance Name
EMC Greenplum Data Computing Appliance (DCA)
HP AppSystem for Apache Hadoop
IBM PureData System for Analytics
NetApp Open Solution for Hadoop
Oracle Big Data Appliance
Teradata Aster Big Analytic Appliance


These appliances provide an out-of-the-box solution for customers who want to do as little as possible to get Hadoop up and running. However, there will always be some organizations that prefer the DIY approach, the same way some leading-edge users set up HPC clusters themselves using Beowulf. These users will select standard servers for handling different Hadoop functions, which they then assemble into a complete Hadoop environment. Cloudera, a Big Data Hadoop provider, certifies hardware specifically for this purpose. Cloudera-certified servers include the Supermicro 815 and Supermicro 826, which are optimized for Hadoop Name Nodes (which should be memory-heavy) and Data Nodes (which are more storage-heavy), respectively. It is possible to use Gartner Tech Planner to find other systems that have processors and other specifications similar to the two mentioned Supermicro servers. The table of servers below shows some candidates:

Suitable for Hadoop Name Node Suitable for Hadoop Data Node
IBM – System x3550 M4 IBM – System x3630 M4
Dell – PowerEdge R620 Dell – PowerEdge R520
HP – ProLiant DL160 Gen8 HP – ProLiant DL380e Gen8
HP – ProLiant DL360 Gen8


The list is incomplete, and there are likely to be other vendors and server products that are well suited for deploying Hadoop. Please use the comment section if you know of any other servers that fit into these two groups.

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Note: This is an individual analyst’s blog and not a piece of peer reviewed, actionable, Gartner research.

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Chris Gaun
Research Analyst
4 years at Gartner
7 years IT industry

Chris Gaun is an Analyst with Ideas Research. ...Read Full Bio

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