Oracle customers are facing a big data problem, and Hadoop is the answer – reluctant as Oracle is to admit it.

Speaking at the Oracle product and strategy update in London yesterday, Oracle president Mark Hurd said that the company's customers are growing their data up to 40% a year, putting tremendous pressure on IT budgets.

“Growth of 40% data with customers who spend $10,000 a terabyte to house the data; most of our customers spend 10 of their IT budgets on storage, and if you take those three numbers and put them together you're going to grow your IT budgets 3-5% just housing the data,” said Hurd.

Oracle offers a range of products to help customers shrink their data, such as Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle Exalytics, said Hurd.

“If you've got a terabyte of data, we in many cases can shrink it 10x – turn a terabyte into 100GB – and work on ways they can consolidate storage, servers, databases, shrink their footprints, get their sustainability levels up, while at the same time innovating.”

However, when it comes to dealing with real Big Data problems, Oracle still relies on Hadoop, the open-source software framework licensed under the Apache v2 license .

Back in January 2012, Oracle announced a joint agreement with Cloudera – a distributor of Hadoop-based software and services for the enterprise – to provide an Apache Hadoop distribution and tools for Oracle Big Data Appliance.

Oracle Big Data Appliance is an engineered system of hardware and software that incorporates Cloudera’s Distribution Including Apache Hadoop (CDH) and Cloudera Manager, as well as an open source distribution of R, Oracle NoSQL Database Community Edition, Oracle HotSpot Java Virtual Machine and Oracle Linux running on Oracle’s Sun servers.

Together with Oracle's other database offerings, the company claims that Oracle Big Data Appliance offers everything customers need to acquire, organise and analyse Big Data within the context of all their enterprise data.

However, Oracle is not best known for embracing open source software. In fact, many believe that Oracle has shown a relentless dedication to damaging open source software projects such as Java, mySQL and OpenSolaris, since buying Sun Microsystems in 2010.

Commenting on Oracle's use of Hadoop, Hurd said; “We're happy with anything that gives the best answer for the customer. Open source has morphed over the years – more times than not the key is real commercialisation of open source.

“Most of these problems that big companies have are really hard and require real industrialisation and commercialisation. We're taking the best of what we see and integrating that into our product.”

Speaking to Techworld at IP Expo earlier in the day, Doug Cutting, creator of Hadoop and chief architect at Cloudera, said that the company works with Oracle in lots of markets, as well as with other big proprietary companies like IBM and Microsoft.

“I was somewhat surprised to see that over the last few years. I expected there to be some proprietary competitor – that one of these big IT vendors would come up with their own solution and say no, this is the way you need to do things. But it hasn't happened. All of the players have said we're going to standardise on Hadoop,” he said.

“They can do that because it's open source. On one hand you could argue that it's not a threat to them because they can build on top of it. On the other hand you could argue that it's such a supreme threat that they just give up and roll over right from the beginning.”

Cutting added that there is a lot of value in having your structured and your unstructured data in the same universe, and being able to project them against one another.

“Having completely separate systems for both I think long term doesn't make sense, and the directions for this big data stack are that we're going to develop all the things that are present in the conventional stack,” he said.