Most companies are facing an onslaught of information about customers from social networks, the Internet, and mobile devices. More than 80 percent of these data don't fit neatly into conventional relational databases, and to make it work is simply too expensive. So, companies including Disney, GE, Wal-Mart, and others are using software called Hadoop to process large amounts of information such as text, Facebook and Twitter updates, and clicks on websites to gain a better understanding of their businesses, products, and customers.
Hadoop is open-source software that got its start with Web companies such as Google (GOOG) and Yahoo. In fact, the technology is widely used at Yahoo and the company's software developers have contributed most of the code to the project. Now, a new group of startups such as Cloudera is taking that software and adding services that large companies like Nokia need to run Hadoop on their networks. Read on to see which companies are using Hadoop. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg